2014.10.13 - Tug Of War

Rev. C. Jarrod Lies - Mon, Oct 13

Runtime: 00:05:36

Sermon Transcript

Gospel LK 11:29-32
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

It’s as if we are in a type of tug of war with God. Either God is in control or we are in control. And the human heart is in this tug of war between “I make the decisions,” or “God makes the decisions;” “I determine the truth,” OR “God determines the truth;” “I prove what is right,” OR “I accept that what God offers me is right.”
I alluded to this tug of war last Friday when I talked about the proper context for miracles. We often times ask ourselves “why can’t the power of God be so stupendously seen in our day today?” One of the answers to this is that we are no longer in the context of faith but in the context of science and economy. “I want to see the numbers in my account. I want to see the proof on a piece of paper. I want to see the rationality that I can accept,” when in fact miracles happen because of the context of faith.
The example that I used last week was that “One can only see the stars in the context of darkness of night. But during the day you cannot see the stars.” The same battle of tug of war is revealed in today’s Gospel as well. Jesus is condemning the people because they do not accept the preaching that He is giving. And He uses Jonah specifically and Solomon as a sign. At the preaching of Jonah, the Nineveh people converted. They did not wait for proof that God was behind Jonah’s words. Jonah put on a yoke, walked through Nineveh’s and said “forty days more and Nineveh will be destroyed” (Jonah 3:4). The people’s hearts were converted at his word, because His word bore the power of God.
Now, Jesus is speaking to the people in His own time, and they are seeking a sign. They want some kind of external proof. Notice the insult that is happening here: “Jesus we don’t believe you, BUT we want something other than you. Your word is not enough. So we want something tangible that we can accept because fundamentally we cannot accept you.” This is where people are becoming selfish. They want to be the source of truth. “I want to be the source of all things right. If it does not make since in my own logic, then I will not accept it.” This is seen in the book of Luke, between Jesus and the rich man whom ignored Lazarus. When the rich man was in hell he said to Jesus “go send someone to my brothers and tell them not to do the something I did.” To which Jesus replied “even if someone were to rise from the dead they would not believe” (Luke 16:27-31).
This happens because when we are caught in our own rationality we can accept or reject anything that we want to, with a materialistic or positivistic mindset. Positivistic meaning, “I need to prove it by numbers, by facts, by figures, by my own brain.” Therefore we will never be able to accept God as the source of authority. This battle over “show us a sign” is this tug of war. “I want to be the source of authority, I want to prove what is right, and truth comes from me,” while God is saying, “No, truth comes from me.”
Fundamentally following Christ is accepting His word in faith. The proper context of discipleship IS Faith. Hearing His word and accepting it. The people of Nineveh heard Jonah’s word and accepted it; while the people in Jesus’ time were trying to reject to Jesus. We have to ask ourselves, “Where are we in the context of faith?” “Do we hear the word of the Lord, and accept it?” Or do we wait for something OUTSIDE the word of the Lord, so that we can take the authority for ourselves?

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

It’s as if we are in a type of tug of war with God. Either God is in control or we are in control. And the human heart is in this tug of war between “I make the decisions,” or “God makes the decisions;” “I determine the truth,” OR “God determines the truth;” “I prove what is right,” OR “I accept that what God offers me is right.”

I alluded to this tug of war last Friday when I talked about the proper context for miracles. We often times ask ourselves “why can’t the power of God be so stupendously seen in our day today?” One of the answers to this is that we are no longer in the context of faith but in the context of science and economy. “I want to see the numbers in my account. I want to see the proof on a piece of paper. I want to see the rationality that I can accept,” when in fact miracles happen because of the context of faith.

The example that I used last week was that “One can only see the stars in the context of darkness of night. But during the day you cannot see the stars.” The same battle of tug of war is revealed in today’s Gospel as well.
Jesus is condemning the people because they do not accept the preaching that He is giving. And He uses Jonah specifically and Solomon as a sign. At the preaching of Jonah, the Nineveh people converted. They did not wait for proof that God was behind Jonah’s words. Jonah put on a yoke, walked through Nineveh’s and said “forty days more and Nineveh will be destroyed” (Jonah 3:4). The people’s hearts were converted at his word, because His word bore the power of God.

Now, Jesus is speaking to the people in His own time, and they are seeking a sign. They want some kind of external proof. Notice the insult that is happening here: “Jesus we don’t believe you, BUT we want something other than you. Your word is not enough. So we want something tangible that we can accept because fundamentally we cannot accept you.” This is where people are becoming selfish. They want to be the source of truth. “I want to be the source of all things right. If it does not make since in my own logic, then I will not accept it.” This is seen in the book of Luke, between Jesus and the rich man whom ignored Lazarus. When the rich man was in hell he said to Jesus “go send someone to my brothers and tell them not to do the something I did.” To which Jesus replied “even if someone were to rise from the dead they would not believe” (Luke 16:27-31).

This happens because when we are caught in our own rationality we can accept or reject anything that we want to, with a materialistic or positivistic mindset. Positivistic meaning, “I need to prove it by numbers, by facts, by figures, by my own brain.” Therefore we will never be able to accept God as the source of authority. This battle over “show us a sign” is this tug of war. “I want to be the source of authority, I want to prove what is right, and truth comes from me,” while God is saying, “No, truth comes from me.”

Fundamentally following Christ is accepting His word in faith. The proper context of discipleship IS Faith. Hearing His word and accepting it. The people of Nineveh heard Jonah’s word and accepted it; while the people in Jesus’ time were trying to reject to Jesus. We have to ask ourselves, “Where are we in the context of faith?” “Do we hear the word of the Lord, and accept it?” Or do we wait for something OUTSIDE the word of the Lord, so that we can take the authority for ourselves?

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Presented by: Rev. C. Jarrod Lies
Presented by: Rev. C. Jarrod Lies
Presented by: Rev. C. Jarrod Lies
Presented by: Rev. C. Jarrod Lies

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