Lk.4.20-32sermon

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					4th Sunday after Pentecost                                                     part of the world as a great preacher and teacher, and so the people of
Luke 4:20-32                                                                   Nazareth were eager to hear him preach in their synagogue.
Pastor Tom Engelbrecht                                                                   In those days in the synagogues on the Sabbath, they would read a
January 31, 2010                                                               portion of the Scriptures just like we do in our church services, and then a
                                                                               teacher would preach a little sermon on what was read. Jesus read a
         Let me tell you about a 29 year old man named Andy. Andy was a        portion of Isaiah for the people, a portion which prophesied about the
good high school athlete. He excelled as a wide receiver in football and as    promised Messiah, the Savior of the world. It’s at this point that we pick
an outfielder in baseball. He played both sports when he went on to            up the story. After he read the portion of God’s Word from Isaiah, this is
college. After college he stayed in shape and remained active. This last       what happened: “Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the
Christmas, the second Christmas he spent as a married man, he began            attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were
having chest pains. He went to the doctor and they ran all sorts of tests to   fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture
find out what was wrong, but they came up with nothing. I’m not sure           is fulfilled in your hearing.’ All spoke well of him and were amazed at
what Andy would have liked to hear from those doctors, but I imagine he        the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’
could have settled for some explanation involving asthma or a strained         they asked.”
muscle or a cracked rib. Unfortunately, the doctors had no idea what                     Jesus didn’t disappoint the people. At first, the things Jesus said to
caused his chest pains. This past week, Andy died. At age 29 he died of a      them sounded good. It says that they were amazed at his gracious words.
heart attack. Who could have guessed that what Andy needed to hear,            These gracious words weren’t just compliments or flatteries given to some
what the doctors needed to know, was that he needed a quadruple bypass?        old friends. Jesus taught them God’s grace. He taught them that the
Who could have guessed that Andy needed to know that the arteries of his       fulfillment of God’s promises of a Savior was now being completed. And
heart looked worse than most 60 or 70 year olds? There is no doubt that        there’s no doubt that Jesus indicated to them that he was the fulfillment of
there was a big difference between what Andy wanted to hear and what he        those promises.
needed to hear.                                                                          That is when they started to have a problem with what he was
         Isn’t that so often the case in our lives? There’s a big difference   saying. They liked to hear about God’s grace, but when Jesus indicated
between what we want to hear and what we need to hear. We want to hear         that he had something to do with God’s grace in their lives, they started to
that we can buy that new car or new house, but we need to hear that our        get a little offended. “Wait a second,” they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
credit is awful and we need to control spending so that we can save for        It’s kind of like when you tell someone that you are a Christian, and you
emergencies or retirement. We want to hear that everyone in the family is      tell them that you have hope in your Savior. Many people will say, “That’s
getting along fine and everything is fine, but we need to hear that            great! Everyone needs to have a source of hope in their lives.” But if you
everything isn’t always fine, and it takes work to keep a marriage or a        take that next step and tell them that they, too, can share in the hope that
family together. What we want to hear is often much different than what        you have, sometimes they might get a little annoyed or offended. “OK,
we need to hear.                                                               that works for you, but don’t try to force your beliefs on me.” There are
         And very often we need to see in our spiritual lives that what we     times when people don’t want you to take that next step.
want to hear and what we need to hear are very different. So today, we                   The people of Nazareth didn’t want Jesus to take that next step. It
need to travel back in time 2000 years, to a small town which would be in      was great that he was a well known preacher. It was great that he came to
modern day Israel, called Nazareth. And we need to listen. We need to          share God’s grace with them. Now that everyone was happy, maybe Jesus
listen because Jesus is speaking. Recognize, friends, that as we listen to     could move on and preach elsewhere. But Jesus wouldn’t do that for these
Jesus speak he may not always tell us what we want to hear, but have           people. He couldn’t do that for these people because there was something
confidence that he will always tell us what we need to hear.                   they needed to hear. Listen to what he said. “Surely you will quote this
         Jesus grew up in Nazareth. There’s no doubt that many of the          proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown
people of Nazareth knew who he was. He was a good kid, an unusually            what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ I tell you the truth,
good kid. He was a carpenter and the son of a carpenter. But when he           no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were
came back to Nazareth as a grown man he was well known all over that           many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for
three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the              God’s grace, it doesn’t take him long to show us how sin filled we are and
land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in                  how hopeless our situation is.
Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with                      And sometimes, we don’t want to listen. Jesus doesn’t always tell
leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was               us what we want to hear about ourselves and we act like those people of
cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”                                                Nazareth and try to throw him off a cliff. OK, maybe we haven’t
         Jesus took the next step and pointed out to the people that it wasn’t   physically carried him to the brow of a hill, but sometimes we don’t listen
just a nice thing that he came to teach them. Jesus told them that they          if what he says makes us uncomfortable. We might think we can’t give up
needed him to teach them. They needed him to be their Savior. They               premarital sex, or our stuff, or ourselves, and so we disregard some of what
didn’t think they needed him. “Isn’t this just Joseph’s son?” That’s what        he says. Agree to disagree, you might say. But with Jesus, there is no
they said. They heard his words of grace but rejected Jesus because he was       agree to disagree. He tells us what we need to hear whether we want to
too familiar to them and told them things that they didn’t want to hear. The     hear it or not.
point Jesus makes with the two Old Testament examples is that God’s                       And that’s the good news. Listen to what happened after the
grace isn’t for people who think that they deserve it. God’s grace is for        people became angry with Jesus. It says, “All the people in the
those who need it, and at that point the people of Nazareth didn’t think they    synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him
needed it.                                                                       out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town
         Do you ever wonder why pastors and churches make such a big             was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right
deal about coming to church? Have you ever thought to yourself that              through the crowd and went on his way. Then he went down to
you’ve heard these stories before and you’ve read these parts of the Bible       Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the
before? Part of the reason it’s important to come to church regularly, or to     people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had
gather together with other Christians regularly, is so that Jesus can tell you   authority.” The good news is that even when people rejected Jesus, he
what you need to hear. You see, we are really good at convincing                 didn’t stop teaching. It was not yet his time to die. He walked right
ourselves that we aren’t doing too badly. We check a few things off of our       through that crowd, went to the next city, and continued teaching. He had
priority lists and we are good to go. Believe in God. Check. Be a                a message that people needed to hear. It was a message of sin and
Christian. Check. Then we feel like we can go about our lives doing what         forgiveness. It was a message that he put on display in his life as he made
we like to do.                                                                   his way to Jerusalem, where he went to the cross to die for the sins of all
         But we gather together around God’s Word so that Jesus can make         people, including you and me.
sure that God’s grace remains God’s grace. He takes that extra step with                  If Jesus never gave a message about sin, then no one would have
us to show us that we don’t deserve God’s grace. Why would he do that?           ever needed the message about the Savior. But he told those people of
Because the moment we think we deserve God’s grace, we are putting               Nazareth that they were sinners. He tells every single one of us that we are
ourselves in great danger of rejecting Jesus. What do we need Jesus for if       sinners. We need to hear that message. But he told us that message so that
we deserve God’s grace?                                                          we would need his far greater message: the message of his death on the
         So Jesus takes that extra step and says, “Don’t be comfortable in       cross to pay for our sins and give us eternal life.
your life if you have sex outside of marriage. Don’t fool yourself into                   Listen to Jesus. He speaks to you in his Word. Sometimes the
thinking that lust filled thoughts are harmless. Those are sins that tear you    message is amazing and overwhelming. “I’m that bad of a sinner? My
away from me.” Jesus says, “How many cars do you have? How much                  sins are that serious in God’s eyes?” Yes they are. “My God loved me that
time do you spend thinking about and buying and using new phones, TV’s,          much, that he sent his Son to die for me?” Yes he did.
what your neighbor has, and what you want? That stuff isn’t going to                      Andy never did hear the news that he needed to hear from his
make you happy and it all can be gone in the blink of an eye.” Jesus says,       doctor in order to preserve his life on this earth. However, he heard the
“Stop thinking about yourself and what can make you happy and stop               only message that he needed to hear. He heard the message of sin, and the
worrying about your self esteem and what makes you feel good. Love               message of his Savior. And you know what? It has saved his life
others, put others first. But most of all, love me above all things.” Just       eternally. Listen, Jesus is speaking, and what he has to say is what you
like Jesus showed the people of Nazareth that they really don’t deserve          need to hear. Amen.

				
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