February 10, 2013

February 10, 2013

February 10, 2013 – First Baptist Church Edmonton – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato

– – Title: “Listen…”
Texts: Luke 9:18-51.

This is a turning point section in the book of Luke. Jesus is well on his way in terms of his “kingdom of God is here” tour and is quite likely in the last 6 months of his 3-year earthly ministry. . . today is more of a teaching sermon – – catching us up on where we’ve been and where we’re going as we are at the “hinge-point” of changing Christian calendar seasons. . . moving from Epiphany to the season of Lent. . .

Where we’ve been: The GodStory has 5 parts: Creation, Fall, Israel, Jesus & NPoG (New People of God).
For the past 22 weeks we’ve preached through: the creation story; the fall of humankind; God’s calling of a people through Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Hannah, Samuel; God’s leading of a people through Saul, David, Solomon; God’s rebuke and promise to a people through prophetic voices: Elijah, Jonah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon, Anna. . .

Most recently we’ve been seeking for “Christ to be formed in us” through the Jesus stories: the baptism of Jesus; Peter’s early encounters with Jesus; Jesus calling his first disciples and his “signs & wonders” tour across rural and urban Jerusalem; Jesus finding us & healing us when we are seeking or when we are mourning.

WHAT WE’VE LEARNED. . . GOD / WE Statements

REMEMBER a few weeks ago, where I asked you to share some of your “GodStory” revelations? God Statement/We Statements. . . . Here’s a few of the quotes that people shared in December:

[ I’ll pick a few from the list below ]

God pursues us and invites us to renew our love, joining God in a second honeymoon
God is merciful, we are sinners and fail constantly and yet, God is grace, love and compassion. We have hope.
God is waiting for each of us.
Having grace with one another as God has had grace with us
God is with us. God was with Moses, God was with Joshua…. our response to God’s working is to glorify him through our actions, behaviour towards others
God is… current, here and now
God can change his mind! God is grace amidst the chaos
He loved us first. No matter what befalls us He has us by the shoulders and will never let go.
Through God’s grace and steadfast love for our community, we are better prepared to better listen to each other and talk to each other on difficult issues that come up amidst us, past our differences.
We are not alone. We need our time alone as much as with one another to experience God in the everyday.
How with us he is! Closer than a brother
God works through people. God does not make junk.God is a God of grace comfort and hope! We need to live the God story every day of our lives.
I am hearing and learning the redemptive plan God has for his people and am encouraged. God says, I am who I am …. His holiness. We are always allowed to come to God in any situation. I need to share this with others.
We need to dwell in the reason for that grace and our complicity in our collective rebellion… a little longer. Consolation will be sweeter only if we deal seriously with desolation.
We are called to look for God’s grace everywhere
around us.
We offer grace to those around us, as God repeatedly gives grace to us.
God turns to us before we return to him.
God’s grace always surpasses our human failures and offers redemption
Called to hospitality of others, some that we might not always be comfortable with
The importance of being a people that builds up in grace and love and patience. So many are hurt already they don’t need to be wounded more.
Our need for grace is so large … God’s grace is even larger than what we need.

– My favourite: “God is always tipping the scales towards grace”
– God’s promise of Emmanuel: “I AM the with-you God”
– Do not be afraid. . .

Where we’re going: In the season of Lent we will focus on the Lukan parables of Jesus and then journey with Jesus through his final week of earthly ministry.

The Jesus you see is the God you saw. . .

[ continuity ! ]

Remember the “big arc” of the GodStory. . . this Bible of ours isn’t just a mumbo-jumbo of neat or horrifying stories. . . they fit in the big picture of the big arc of God’s desire to pour out energies into all creation and humankind. . . to make all things new. . .
I hope that something that you might be picking up along the way is this idea of a God who was and is and is to come (Rev. 1:8). Like I’ve said before, it’s not bad, mean God back there and nice, gentle Jesus-God up here! Jesus is the living fulfilment of all the law and the prophets. . . and to live the way of Jesus in its most simple form is as follows:

Luke 10: 25ff
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” [613 laws!]
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

So many ways that people are looking to “live”. . . could it be this simple? To love God and love neighbour? As we continue to reflect on this life of following Jesus, let’s let the Lukan themes inform our imagination as to what God is revealing through Jesus in this gospel. . .

Lukan Themes that will inform our vision of God in Jesus:
W. O. R. T. S.
(Word of God, Outsiders, Reversal, Turn!, Salvation)
HS / Prayer / the Fruits of Faith

W: God’s prophetic Word in the world is the work and presence of Jesus. . . Jesus repeats this theme in Luke. . . to “hear” and “obey” the Word of God (Luke 5:1; 6:47; 8:13-15, 21; 11:28)

O: Outsiders. I’ll talk more about this shortly in the Peterson quote, but Luke is really kind to outsiders….probably because he’s an outsider himself! His gospel is the least harsh to others….even the “bad guys” in other gospels are seen with gracious eyes in the gospel of Luke: he’s not as hard on the Roman Empire, and he seems to portray the outsiders as “reasonable” and “openminded.”

R: REVERSAL. Or the great reversal. Early on in Mary’s song (that echoes Hannah’s song) and in the Beatitudes of Luke 6, there is this theme of the high and mighty being brought down, and the marginalized, the poor, the broken, being built up and consoled.

T: TURN! (or REPENT!). Those who are called to live the way of Jesus must “turn around.” Jesus says to his disciples: Follow me. We read that they left everything to follow him. . . their lives, their vocations, their destinies would never be the same.

S: SALVATION. This is a word that perhaps loses it’s meaning in Christian culture. The phrase “is s/he saved?” might have meaning in Christian sub-culture, but what does it mean in the midst of real-life scenarios? One of the primary images of the Lukan Jesus is that he has come to “save the lost” (see Luke 19:10). This salvation image best shows up in the parables of Jesus: the lost sheep (Lk. 15:3-6), the lost coin (15:8-10) and the lost son (15:11-32). It’s not simply a matter of being “saved” so that you will go to heaven someday. . . Jesus is much more practical and “earthy” than that. . . we are being “saved” into a way of life that is here and now…one that still lives in the world, a salvation that walks and talks with our friends, colleagues and neighbours. How is the world around us being “saved” because we Christians are in it? ?

HS: It’s no surprise that Luke who also wrote the book of ACTS emphasizes the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shows up early and often in the book of Luke. . . present at Jesus’ baptism, quoted in Jesus’ first sermon in the synagogue: “The spirit of the Lord is upon ME, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18).

Prayer: Prayer seems to always precede turning points in the gospel of Luke. Even today’s text has 2 places where Jesus prays. . . remember also his prayer before choosing the disciples (Luke 6).

The Fruits of Faith: Again, because of its connection to the book of Acts, Luke pushes for ACTION! Acts of the Apostles = Fruits of Faith. A people who have encountered the living Christ and are TURNING/REPENTING from their former ways are a people who bear “fruits worthy of repentance” (Luke 3:8). For Luke, this means the “imitation of God.” Whenever I think of the fruit of faith, I go to Galatians 5: The fruit of the Spirit – –

v. 22 . . . the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.

Interested in “testing” yourself to see if your life is being formed by Jesus? I know it seems overly simplistic, but sometimes we ought to pause and reflect on how this 9-fold fruit is being borne out in our lives?

Q: How are we “bearing fruits worthy of repentance”?

• * When people meet us, or hear of the reputation of our church in the city these days. . . what do they think of?

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, kindness, generosity

Faithfulness, gentleness, self-control ? ?

I hope these themes are helpful for you as you look back on our Lukan sermons and look ahead to 8 more weeks of Lukan teaching!

To sum up Luke, I’d like to point you to the Peterson quote . . .

Eugene Peterson quote: “Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of New Testament writers, he shows us how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common laborers (sheep-herders), the racially different (Samaritans), the poor. . . . As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus.” (The Invitation, pg. 164)

So, with all this data and review in mind, we are going to walk through today’s text… it’s full, it’s dramatic, it’s overflowing with ideas and themes. So I’m not going to focus on one idea, we’re going to dwell in the world of the text. . . interact with it, see how it brings to life the Lukan themes. . . interact with any questions you might have, and then close our time in the text by focussing on the TRANSFIGURATION and then posturing ourselves to LISTEN. . .

Today’s text: Luke 9:18-51
v. 18: Jesus was praying…asks “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
v. 20: Peter’s answer: “The Messiah of God.”
v. 21: Messianic secret? Political wisdom? Then, future predictions: “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Yikes! How do we hold in tension the blessings and presence of God VS the suffering and sorrow of God?

v. 23: “If any want to become my followers…let them take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Did the disciples have that “But I thought…” moment? But I thought this was a wonders and miracles tour….not a we’re going to have to suffer and be rejected tour!

v. 28: Eight days after this. . . “Jesus went up on a mountain to pray.”
vv. 29-30: The Transfiguration: dazzling white, Moses & Elijah, departure.
vv. 32-34: The disciples sleepy response, Peter says: “Let us build” – – not knowing what he said.
v. 35: “This is my Son, my Chosen; LISTEN to him!”
v. 36: Silence.
v. 37: The next day, re-engaging the crowds….a man shouts out “Look at my son.”
vv. 40-43: Failure of disciples, Rebuke by Jesus, son is healed.

Why does Jesus get so mad sometimes? This is his “maddest moment” in Luke. . . but still. . . what’s up with that? Perhaps it’s part of his prophetic identity? One who rebukes, reproves and yet still performs acts of healing and mercy. Hmmmm.

vv. 43-44: Astonishment. Amazement.
v. 44: Jesus says “Let these words sink into your EARS; the Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.”

More suffering & sorrow talk. . . this is going to be a strange and loooong lesson for the disciples to understand. . .

v. 45: Silence.
vv. 46-48: Argument. Jesus says “for the least among you is the greatest.”
vv. 49-50: Exclusion. Jesus says “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
v. 51: Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

At the heart of today’s text is the Transfiguration. [ this is the high holy day! ]
N.T. Wright talks about transfiguration in the following manner:
“What the story of Jesus on the mountain demonstrates, for those with eyes to see or ears to hear, is that, just as Jesus seems to be the place where God’s world and ours meet, where God’s time and ours meet, so he is also the place where, so to speak, God’s matter – God’s new creation – intersects with ours. As with everything else in the gospel narrative, the moment is extraordinary, but soon over. It forms part of a new set of signposts, Jesus-shaped signposts, indicating what is to come: a whole new creation, starting with Jesus himself as the seed that is sown in the earth and then rises to become the beginning of that new world.” (Simply Jesus, pg. 142)

Our GodStory theme words:
Providence – Transformation – Restoration

Encountering the providence/sustenance of Jesus – – – that encounter changes us – – –
We follow Jesus for the good of the world (co-restorers!)

Looking to Lent. . .
On this coming Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) we begin our 40-day journey into the season of Lent (don’t count the Sundays!). As we dwell in the world of today’s text/story, what is Jesus calling us to do as we too set our faces towards the cross?

We believe that our living Christ has spoken and still speaks today – – our living Jesus moves through the pews of FBC Edmonton today! Mystery and Majesty in the midst of ordinary lives.

“This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” (Luke 9:35).
“You are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you. . . .Do not fear, for I AM with you. . . you whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:4-5, 7).

Q: What are you hearing / seeing?

Pray with this word or image during the closing moments of silence.