Sermon #76 Luke Sermons
Title: LOOKING FOR A SIGN?
Text: Luke 11:27-32
Subject: The Sign of Jonah
Date: Sunday Evening –
Tape # W-92a
Are you looking for a sign? Are you waiting for the Lord to show you a sign? We live in an age of such religious deception and perversity that men and women are taught from the pulpits to do so. Such a generation is described by the Son of God as a wicked, perverse, and adulterous generation.
Listen carefully to this preacher. – Any faith that is based upon a sign, the observation of a miracle, the proof of logic, a feeling of something spiritual, an experience, or anything else other than the revelation of God in Holy Scripture, is a false faith.
Proposition: True, God-given, saving faith has for its foundation the Word of God alone.
That is my message tonight. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” May God give us grace to believe him, not our experiences! – Him, not our feelings! – Him, not our reason! – Him, not signs and wonders!
(Luke 11:27-32) "And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. (28) But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. (29) And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. (30) For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. (31) The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. (32) The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here."
I. The Blessedness of Faith (vv. 27-28)—The greatest blessing God can bestow upon anyone in this world is the gift of faith in Christ.
(Luke 11:27-28) "And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. (28) But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it."
The Lord Jesus had just cast out a devil by the power of his omnipotent grace, causing a dumb man to speak. After performing this great miracle, he was accused by the “religious right,” the “moral majority” of performing his work by the power of Satan, of being in league with the devil, maybe of even being the devil himself.
Then, the Son of God explained publicly who he is (The King of Glory!), by what power he works (the Finger of God!), the result of his work (Satan cast out!), and, at the same time, exposed the hypocrisy of those whited sepulchers who were indeed the servant of Satan.
Hearing these things, observing the power of his grace, perhaps rejoicing in the embarrassment of the Pharisees, perhaps remembering what the Son of God had done for her by his grace, there was a woman in the crowd whose emotion, whose adoration of Christ, whose remembrance of mercy caused her to break the rules of politeness. She cried out, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked!”
A. These words were not a pronouncement of praise and veneration of Mary.
It is sad that I have to even make such a statement as that; but the Mariolatry of Rome is so profuse that often the mother of Jesus is elevated in the minds of people above other women to a position of kinship to divinity.
· Pictures of Mary with a Halo!
· Prayers to Mary!
· Ascribing Miracles to Mary!
· “Hail, Mary! Mother of God!” – Blasphemy!
This was not a word of praise to Mary. Rather it was a figure of speech, by which this woman expressed adulation and praise for the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not use the same words, but we often praise someone in the same way. – “That child is an honor to his parents.” – “That child speaks well of his parents.” – “That child must make his parents very proud.”
1. Mary was indeed a blessed women. – Both the angel Gabriel and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, spoke of her blessedness.
(Luke 1:28) "And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."
(Luke 1:42) "And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb."
I do not doubt for a moment, that sister Mary was a woman of remarkable character, exemplary faith and behavior, and steadfast virtue.
2. However, Mary’s blessedness was the blessedness of a sinner saved by grace.
Her blessedness did not arise so much from the fact that the Son of God was in her womb, but from the fact that he was in her heart.
· Mary was highly favored of God, as the object of his grace, chosen, redeemed, called, sanctified and accepted in Christ, just like us..
· She worshipped the baby in her belly as God her Savior in her heart.
· After she had given birth to the Lord Jesus, to our Savior’s humanity, she came to the temple with the sacrifice of the law because of her uncleanness, because she was a sinner who needed the blood atonement of Christ just like us (Luke 2:24; Lev. 12:6-8).
When the Savior heard this woman’s praise, he immediately knew what horrid blasphemy would soon come to be attached to those words by the deceivers in Rome. So he immediately gives us a word of instruction, declaring…
(Luke 11:28) "But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it."
B. True blessedness is the blessedness of grace bestowed upon all who are born of God.
How great are the privileges of grace bestowed upon sinners in this world who hear the word of God and keep it! It is a great privilege indeed to hear the Word of God faithfully preached. But our Savior is not talking about the mere outward hearing of the gospel. That will prove an everlasting curse, unless there is with the hearing of the Word the accompaniment of saving grace causing us to hear the Word and keep it, to hear it with faith and understanding and to guard it, prize it, and keep it as the Word of God.
All to whom God grants the gift of faith in his Son are truly blessed of God.
· With all the Blessings of Grace (Eph. 1:3).
· With all the Blessings of Providence (Rom. 8:28).
· With all the Blessings of Heavenly Glory (Eph. 1:11).
II. The Demand of Unbelief (v. 29)—Unbelief always demands something more than the Word of God.
(Luke 11:29) "And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet."
(Matthew 12:39) "But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:"
A. Without question, our Lord was speaking specifically of the generation in which he then walked in this world.
It was a distinctly evil and adulterous generation, a generation much like our own. Like the day in which we live those were days of indescribable, horrid evil (Rom. 1).
· Philosophically Evil
· Politically Evil
· Morally Evil
· Spiritually Evil
B. But the emphasis, both here and in Matthew, appears to be upon the evil of those who seek after a sign as a basis for believing God.
The people gathered in thick crowds to hear the Son of God preach. But they were a people who demanded a sign, something they could see, something they could feel, something they could understand, something they could prove, as the basis of faith. – They professed that they would believe God, if the Lord God would simply prove himself in the court of carnal reason and experience! – They wanted evidences for faith.
Let me tell you something. – The God of glory will never bow to you. You must bow to him. He condescends in great grace to save sinners. But he will never stoop to be judged by us! If we would be saved, we must bow to him, believing him.
(1 Corinthians 1:17-31) "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (18) For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (19) For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. (20) Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (21) For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (22) For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: (23) But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; (24) But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (25) Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (26) For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (29) That no flesh should glory in his presence. (30) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
III. The Sign of Jonah (v. 30)—The only sign upon which faith can rest is the accomplishment of rdemption proclaimed and revealed in the gospel.
(Luke 11:30) "For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation."
The sign of Jonah was both a declaration of grace and a prophecy of redemption accomplished.
· The declaration of grace is this – “Salvation is of the Lord!”
· The prophecy was that which Jonah pictured.
A. A man was swallowed up in the wrath of God.
B. When wrath was turned away, that man arose from the belly of hell, after three days in the heart of the earth.
C. That risen man proclaimed grace to sinners deserving the wrath of God.
IV.The Judgment of God (vv. 31-32)—Divine justice will make everything that should have been a means of blessedness and salvation here an instrument of torment in hell.
(Luke 11:31-32) "The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. (32) The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here."
The Queen of Sheba, when she heard report of Solomon’s riches, greatness, wisdom and glory, traveled many miles at great expense to meet that great man, on the basis of nothing but the word of men. And Solomon was only a sinful man. – “Behold, a greater than Solomon is here!”
The men of Nineveh, when they heard the message of God by the lips of Jonah, a prophet who was at best less than desirable, repented. – “Behold, a greater than Jonah is here!”
A. You have heard the Word of God, the gospel of his grace. – “The word of God is nigh thee” (Rom. 9).
B. Will this be to you a blessing, or a curse?
(2 Corinthians 2:14-16) "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. (15) For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (16) To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?"
(1 John 5:1-14) "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. (2) By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. (3) For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (4) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (5) Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (6) This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. (7) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (8) And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (9) If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. (10) He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. (11) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (12) He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (14) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:"
C. Of this I am sure – If you refuse to believe you will hear this message again.
· When you stand before God in Judgment!
· Forever in Hell!
· Oh, may God give you grace to believe, for Christ’s sake!