Side Note: I have been speaking a lot the last couple days about election and salvation, so before I head into the main text I wanted to remind everyone that God is the one who draws people to Christ not us. We are the tools that deliver the Gospel and God is the one who draws them to Christ, and as we read last night, Christ is the one who reveals the Father to whoever He chooses.
Scripture: Acts 13:46, 48 ESV And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles ……. 48. And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
This passage reveals that God is absolutely sovereign over everything including salvation, as well as revealing that the human act of believing must also be exercised when divine revelation is given. To God be the glory!
Opening Thoughts for Tonight’s Post: Have you ever been in a situation where you are trying to share the Gospel and someone is being cynical or using fancy word play to try and justify themselves and their position? It happens all the time. When this happened to Jesus, he didn’t mess around, but he got right to the heart of the question. When we are sharing the Gospel it’s so important to get the heart of the question as well so that pride may be exposed through God’s law and hopefully then prepare a humbled heart for grace.
Main Scripture Text: Luke 10:25-28 ESV And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Seeking Justification: You know when a kid is told to go and put on their shoes, and in the process they get distracted and start goofing around. About the time mom and dad start getting after them for acting silly the other sibling, who is sitting like an angel also putting on their shoes, pipes up and says, “Is this how you put your shoes on daddy?” You know that the question is posed in such a way as to give them credit for being so good and to emphasize how bad their brother or sister is.
This is exactly what Jesus was facing with this question. The Jewish Lawyers were experts in God’s law. They were smart, they knew the scriptures like no one else, they were always on very decent behavior, but their hearts were full of pride and conceit. They would compare themselves to others …. Luke 18:11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector …. So when the question was asked, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” this was as sincere as the young child trying to look good and get favor in light of their siblings misbehavior.
The Law: When Jesus witnesses to people he almost always goes to the LAW, and this is for good reason. The LAW reveals people’s wicked hearts, and leaves all men guilty before a holy God. Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God … Jesus does exactly that, He says “What does the Law say? and How do you read it?”
The Response: The Lawyer responded “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” He was still thinking that he would be justified by this, but he was really walking into a trap.
Intense Love: The Jewish people of the day would quote this scripture (Deuteronomy 6:5) two times a day. They knew these laws inside out and backwards just as, I’m afraid, so many of us in the church today do as well. We can quote scripture out the wazoo but if we actually sit down and analyze what it says we will quickly realize that many of us are not doing what it says. To love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength involves having faith in him and also delighting in him above all else. That means He is your treasure, your love, your hope, He consumes your thoughts, He is on your lips, in your mind… You can’t stop thinking about Him. When a person is in love with someone they think about them all the time. I remember when I first met my wife, I thought about her at work, when I was driving, wherever. When I was with her I was happy and when I wasn’t with her I was thinking about her. That’s exactly what happens when you love someone. God commands our affection and maybe you think that’s harsh but shouldn’t it be a natural response to His sacrificial gift? Not to mention that He knitted you together in your mothers womb, called you by name, and paid for your crimes with His own life. If that does not cause you to devote your affections to Him, nothing will.
For a person who is like this Lawyer, who is seeking to justify themselves, they cannot love wholeheartedly because they are full of conceit and do not feel the need to be saved from anything at all, for they are justified by their good works in their own minds. Humbled hearts are what please the Lord. These are the hearts that long to be with Him and see themselves as desperately lost without Him. The greatest commandment again is to love the Lord with all your heart (emotion), soul (immaterial part of a human – faith) and strength or mind (with your logic and reason).
Closing Thoughts: How are you doing with that? There’s no Halfway Herbert, either you are crazy about Jesus and can’t stand to be apart from Him for one second or you simply don’t cherish Him as your only Hope and Treasure. Do you resemble the crowds who Peter addressed in Acts with the message of the Gospel: “Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” They recognized that they were dead without Him and and to them there was nothing more beautiful than Jesus! Or do you resemble the Lawyer seeking to justify himself while asking the exact same question, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Same question, but one leads to death and the other leads to life!
Preparing The Way