Sermon # 58 Luke Sermons
Title: Two Thought Provoking Questions
And A Very Strange Command
Text: Luke 9:18-22
Subject: The Christ of God
Date: Sunday Evening -- 2001
We who are Southerners have a rather unique philosophy about the use of words. We love to spin yarns, the more they are colored with adjectives, adverbs and points of exclamation, the better. You see, as I said, the Southerner’s philosophy is unique. Our thinking is, “Why use ten words to say something when you could use fifty?”
That philosophy is great when telling a story; but it is a very poor way to speak, or write, when you want to teach something. In instruction it is always best to use few words, plainly spoken, and spoken in utter simplicity.
I recall reading one of the early reviews of Bro. Mahan’s, Bible Class Commentaries, in which the reviewer wrote, “Mahan only tells us what a passage says.” He thought he was being negative. That was clearly his intention. But, in reality, he could not have given a better recommendation. Bro. Mahan is a master at saying much in few words.
Yet, the very best example of this is found in Holy Scripture. Those men who wrote by divine inspiration spoke volumes in phrases. Our text (Luke -22) is a tremendous example of this. These five, short verses are bursting with spiritual instruction.
[Luke 9:18-22] And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?  They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.  He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.  And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;  Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
I. The first obvious lesson set before us is the fact that those who undertake great work for God must spend time alone with God in prayer (v. 18).
[Luke 9:18] And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?
Never was there a man who worked so feverishly as our Lord. Never was there a preacher who was so constantly engaged in ministering to the souls of men as our Savior. Remember, now, this man was and is himself God. Yet, there was never a man so much engaged in private prayer to God. How frequently we read in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John of our Lord Jesus Christ getting alone, or alone with a few of his brethren, to pray.
The pioneer missionary, William Carey, once said, “Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.” Carey would not object to me adding this: -- If we would attempt great things for God and expect great things from God, we must spend time alone with God praying. In all spiritual endeavors, prayer is the secret to usefulness. Let us follow our Master’s example.
· Pray for grace to pray as we ought.
· Pray for one another.
· Pray for God’s guidance and his blessing upon our labors.
· Pray for the power and grace of God to attend the ministry of the Word.
Illustration: -- The Secret to Spurgeon’s Phenomenal Success
II. Second, read verse 19 and learn that talk and speculation about Christ, his Gospel, and the things of God are snares by which Satan destroys multitudes.
[Luke 9:19] They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.
Many a man attempts to cover his ignorance by endless chatter, speculation, and debate, speaking when he ought to listen, attempting to teach when he needs to learn, and offering dogmatic opinions about things of which he has no knowledge.
During the days of our Lord’s earthly ministry, if you stopped any man or woman on the street and mentioned Jesus of Nazareth, you would be sure to hear that person’s opinion about him. A multitude of opinions could be heard in any district. Some were dead sure John the Baptist had been raised from the dead. – Others were equally certain that Elijah had come back to the earth. – Others were absolutely positive that Jeremiah or one of the prophets had been reincarnated!
One thing is obvious. All were agreed that our Lord was not at all like the other preachers and religious leaders around. No one ever mistook him for a Scribe, a Pharisee, or a Sadducee! His doctrine distinguished him from all others.
Now, watch this. – Read through the gospels again. You will find that the masses, religious and otherwise, never denied or even challenged…
· Our Lord’s Miracles.
· The Morality of His Doctrine.
· Or even His Divine Authority.
They did not refuse to acknowledge him as a “Christ,” (an anointed man), or a savior. That which disturbed men in our Lord’s day and disturbs men in this day was the exclusiveness of his message. Our Lord declared himself to be, and his apostles declared him to be…
· The Christ!
· The Way!
· The Truth!
· The Life!
· The Door!
· The Savior!
· The Good Shepherd!
· The King!
· The Redeemer!
· The Son of the Living God!
We should never be surprised or at all confused by the fact that men and women everywhere have very strong, outspoken opinions about Christ and his gospel, opinions as foreign to Holy Scripture as hell is to heaven.
The fact is, God’s truth disturbs people. No one can sit under the ministry of the gospel and not be affected by it. If the gospel is plainly preached in unmistakable terms, it will cause people to think. If they refuse to bow to the Revelation of God, they will conger up reasons for their rebellion and unbelief, invent doctrinal theories of their own, speculate about what they judge to be right, and seek to persuade others.
Multitudes spend their lives this way, ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. I meet them everywhere I go. They are always anxious to hear some new thing. They get hold of it, whirl it around and run everywhere with it, as excited as a child with a ten cent sparkler, until it fizzles out. Then they go find another sparkler.
Multitudes know nothing more about the things of God than what
they think they have learned by religious gossip. They content themselves with
examining and criticizing everything they hear or read. – “Bro. Mahan is
getting a little weak.” – “Bro. Nibert is too strong.” – “Bro.
They cannot make up their own mind what is true and what is not, what is right and what is wrong. So they run from one place to another, in the name of truth, wreaking havoc wherever they go, never contributing anything anywhere but confusion.
Year rolls after year, and they are in the same state, just as confused as ever and just as dogmatic, -- talking, -- criticizing, -- finding fault, -- speculating, -- tearing down, -- but never contributing. They hover like the moth around the things of God, but never settle down like the bee to feed upon them. They never lay hold on Christ. They never set their faces toward heaven. They never take up the cross. They never become followers of Christ.
We will be wise to read and heed the warnings given in Holy Scripture about such people. After exhorting Timothy to steadfastness in the gospel, Paul gives some very strong warnings.
[1 Timothy 6:3-5] If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;  He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,  Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
[1 Timothy 6:11-12] But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
[1 Timothy 6:20-21] O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:  Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
[2 Timothy 2:16-18] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.  And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;  Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
[2 Timothy 2:21-23] If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
[2 Timothy 3:1-9] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.  But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
God’s salvation is personally experienced, personally embraced, personally felt, personally known, personally possessed and personally cherished. It is not something bantered about over coffee and doughnuts like politics. It is more, much more than speculation and theory. It is life everlasting in Christ. Our Lord said, “If any man will do God’s will, he shall know the doctrine whether it be of God” (John 7:17).
· God’s will is that we believe on his Son (1 John 3:23).
· Believing Christ, we are taught and learn of God.
· Faith walks before God with confident, assured knowledge regarding the things of God. – “We have the mind of Christ.”
III. Third, true, saving faith knows and confesses that the Man Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ of God (v. 20).
[Luke 9:20] He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.
Peter was, at times, erring and unstable, in some matters ignorant and unbelieving, far too proud and far too quick to action. But when all is said and done, Peter was a remarkable man. In the midst of unbelieving religionists, when the overwhelming tide of religious opinion was rushing the other way, Peter was confident, loyal, willing to stand alone, and bold because he believed and loved his Savior.
When he declared that the man standing before him was “THE CHRIST OF GOD,” he was asserting plainly that that man was and is…
· The Incarnate God.
· The Woman’s Seed
· Abraham’s Seed.
· David’s Son and David’s Lord.
· The Savior.
· That One of Whom the Scriptures Speak.
IV. Fourth, in verse 21 we are taught that there is a time to be silent as well as a time to speak.
Many imagine that they must buttonhole everyone they see, shove a tract into their hand, tell them they are going to hell, and in doing so content themselves with being clear of their blood. But there is a time to be quiet as well as a time to speak. May God give us wisdom and grace to know when to speak and when to be silent.
[Luke 9:21] And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing.
For the present time our Lord was pleased to make himself known to a few and to conceal himself from the multitudes. And, contrary to popular opinion, it is still his purpose to make himself known to some and to hide himself from others. He sends the gospel to some and refuses to send it to others. He calls some, but not others, exactly as it pleases him to do so.
There is a lesson here for us all. There is a time for us to speak to men about the things of God and a time for us to be silent. As you endeavor to be faithful witnesses remember this.
· Ever be ready and willing to speak for Christ regardless of cost or consequence.
· But seek to be led of God. – If he would have you speak a word for him, you will not have to force it. He will open the way and make it obvious. Let our words be words in season, fitly spoken.
V. Fifth, we see our great Savior’s loving determination to suffer and die under the wrath of God as our sin-atoning Substitute (v. 22).
[Luke 9:22] Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
I am sure there is much, much more in this verse than I have yet grasped. But these two things are both obvious and vital.
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ died as a voluntary Surety.
He died for us because he wanted to, because he loved us, by his own free, voluntary will. He did not die as the helpless victim of circumstances beyond his control, but by the determination of his own heart’s love for us. -- The Son of God loved me and gave himself for me! – Imagine that!
B. There was a necessity for our Savior’s death. – He “must ” die.
1. The Old Testament Scriptures
2. The Purpose of God
3. His Covenant Engagements
4. The Justice of God
5. The salvation of His People.
[John 12:23-24] And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.