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The TREE OF LIFE weekly teaching summary from THE WEEK ENDING:
October 17 1999

Tree of Life 10/17/99

 

Glory in the Lord Jesus Christ

Glory in the Lord Jesus Christ

After looking at the first part of PHI 3:3 "for we and only we keep on being the circumcision who worship in the Spirit of God"
We noted what it means to worship in the Spirit of God or by means of the Spirit of God. Now we note the final phrase in this verse, "and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh."
The word "Glory" is from the Greek word "kauchomenoi" which means to boast, glory, rejoice on account of someone or a thing, here it is a reference for us to boast and glory about our Lord Jesus Christ.
What does that mean? It means to be occupied with Him, to know and love Him, all this is summarized in the phrase, and put no confidence in the flesh. It emphasizes a complete confidence toward The Lord Jesus Christ (TLJC) but none toward the flesh and the old sin nature. None toward any human ability, vewpoint, talent or any other factor which seeks to intrude upon your relationship with God and the intake of doctrine.
In reality, we complicate our lives and life should be very simple; glory or boast in Christ Jesus and we put no confidence in the flesh. When life gets complicated, it is helpful to remember the policy of simplicity. It's so easy to put confidence in the flesh when we think that we're doing the right thing. We took a long look at LUK 10:38 and on, the story of Mary and Martha. We saw that how we are at home is how we really are. That's where the truth becomes known. Too many of God's people cover up things to give the impression that they have something to boast about LUK 8:17-18.
Many believers have confidence in their flesh, thinking that they are better than others. This is a hindrance in glorying or boasting in the Lord Jesus Christ. A lot of believers have their act together when it comes to their appearance but you would be shocked at what goes on inside of their home and their heart. The Lord wants to deliver us from the bondage of trying to please Him in their flesh. He does not want to condemn you or make you feel guilty because of your secret problems, needs or desires, but rather to free you from them.
We have noted the examples the Bible has left us to view, those who seemed to have it all together. Beginning with Adam and Eve, to Abraham the father of our faith. To David, all who at first glance would seem to have life wired. But lift the shades and look through the windows of their life, you see the truth. So we saw that no family is perfect and behind our public smiles there are private battles that rage within us and between us. The questions we must ask ourselves are:
1. Is there anything distracting me from focusing on Christ?
2. Are there any nonessentials that are worrying or bothering me to the point of frustration and anger? If so, let Mary's and Martha's story teach us a few things:
1.When facing a test, it's easy to let our temperament dictate the agenda. Martha thought she knew what Jesus wanted and set out to do it, not even bothering to ask whether He wanted something entirely different. We must first, take time to listen then act.
2.When life gets complicated, it's helpful to remember that policy of simplicity. Here, Jesus' needs were simple, a place to rest, a cup of water, and someone to share it with.
3When time is critical, it is essential to focus on the eternal rather than the temporal. Jesus knew this, for at that time He had six months to live. From that point everyday, He lived in the foreshadow of the cross. He just needed a place to rest.
Our world is full of distractions. It's designed that way by the god of this world. The more the pressure, the more tempting it is to focus on the urgent rather than the essential. Don't let a fast-paced life rob you of the quiet joy there is from communion with Christ. Be like Mary, who made her bread from the "good part" of life. Martha was paying too much attention to the things that don't matter and not enough to the things that do. Martha's not evil, she wants the best for the Lord, she doesn't realize that those who are in the flesh cannot please God. In our flesh we are too occupied with our own agenda rather than the Lord's agenda for our life. Martha was too concerned with her own agenda or plans. Fretting about the meal is robbing Martha of life's true joy, fellowship with Christ, The Son of God, who has precious little time left, is sitting in her living room. She has chosen to bake bread, set the table, prepare, prepare, prepare, instead of enjoy her Savior, because she thought it was thr right thing to do. We saw that we should all take a moment to look within, to see where our focus has been. Have we been giving ourselves over to the nonessentials of life.
Continuing into some passages to help us see the principle behind our main passage in PHI 3:3 this assertion, the hardest days of anything are usually the beginning days. That's true in principle in almost every one of life's responsibilities. Starting your life after high school, then after college, starting a new job, your own business, marriage, raising you children. We remember those first few weeks, months, or those early years. The hardest days are usually the beginning days, this principle is especially true of the ministry, anyone's ministry, it was certainly true of Our Lord's ministry. In LUK 4:1-13, His hair is still wet from the Jordan River having been baptized by John the Baptist. He is then driven into the wilderness and left there for forty days without food as He communes with His Father. The tempter comes an attacks tempting Him in the private realm of His life, tempting Him in the realm of power and influence, tempting Him to display Himself publicly.......all of that in hopes of bypassing the cross. He's just thirty years old, fresh out of Nazareth. Beginning with LUK 4:14, He jumps, as it were, from the frying pan into the fire.
As He leaves the wilderness, having victoriously withstood the enemy, He heads back to Galilee. However, don't forget LUK 4:13 "And when the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time."
You see Satan's coming back. What's true of Jesus in His ministry, is equally true for you and for me. You can expect hard times, In fact, they are more often the rule rather than then exception. So, after all that happened in the first thirteen verses, LUK 4:14says "And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit; and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district." He was neither sidetracked nor was He defeated by the tempter, He goes right on with determination toward His goal. You see, this isn't for the weak. In the beginning of His ministry, from the outside, a person could look at Jesus and say, man He's got it made. After all in LUK 4:15 "He was praised by all." But, we don't really see what's being said here because we don't realize the kind of people who were praising Him. Galilee was a fertile field in which many new movements could easily spring up. They were always ready to follow a leader who would begin an insurrection or a revolution. Although Jesus wasn't preaching rebellion, the people scrambled to hear His revolutionary words of new life and to see this man whose power had been the talk of the land. However, remember that human praise is fickle, one moment people can be applauding God's messengers; the next, they can be looking for stones to throw at them. Jesus surely knew the gentle breeze of good favor would be short-lived, but who would have anticipated the sudden storm now awaiting Him, at Nazareth, His hometown?
The praise swept the countryside, superficial though it was. They were people who were zealous and therefore as He began teaching, He was praised by all. We should remember this, when starting out somewhere or with something, don't be overly impressed with early praise. It will quickly end. The honeymoon will soon be over, you can count on that. Because as soon as our Lord addressed their prejudices and their hypocrisy and pride and touched a nerve, they turned on him. How fickle is human praise. In fact, how much more fickle are those who believe it. He's accepted at Galilee because that's the way it was at Galilee, He was a fresh voice.
Then one day, as Luke says LUK 4:16, "and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read." It would not have been unusual for Jesus to participate in the service this way, standing up to read. During the second part, the reading of the scriptures, Jesus stepped to the front. A hush of reverence for the Scriptures quieted the congregation as an attendant handed Jesus the scroll of Isaiah. And so He read Isaiah chapter 61.
LUK 4:18-20 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are downtrodden, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him." He had read from Isaiah 61, one of the prophet's famous Messianic prophecies, and He was getting ready to expound upon it. And up until now, according to Luke, all were speaking well of Him. LUK 4:21 "And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." Here was the bombshell? This was a prophecy concerning the coming of the Jewish Messiah. Notice in reading fromISA 61:2, our Lord stopped after He read "To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord," Why did He stop there? He leaves out the rest of verse 2 and all of 3.
The "favorable year of the Lord" had to do with the grace of God being manifested through the ministry of our Lord consummating with the cross. He sat down and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him. With this stunning announcement, Jesus claimed to be the Person Isaiah had written about---the Messiah. He would fulfill all of Isaiah's prophecy but not right away. One line further, we find that God would send the Messiah to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God. Eventually, He would deliver God's judgment; but now was the springtime of God's grace, which God was generously shedding abroad to all nations. The smiles turned to scornful frowns, He could see skepticism written all over their faces. In verse 23, "And He said to them, "No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, 'Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your home town as well." In other words "prove it, Show us your stuff!" True to the rule He would follow throughout His entire ministry, Jesus refused to whip up a miracle just to impress stony-hearted skeptics. While He had the floor, though, He had more to tell them. LUK 4:24 "And He said, Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his home town."
The Jews were so sure that they were God's people that they utterly despised all others. In fact, they believed that "God had created the Gentiles to be fuel for the fires of hell." And here was this young Jesus, whom they all knew, preaching as if God specially favored the Gentiles. "He's no prophet, He's just a carpenter." Throw Him out!" "How could He be who He claims to be?"
In fact, His own family was plagued with that sin of familiarity. Joh 7:1-5 MAR 3:13-21 With the sharp edge of Scripture, Jesus was slicing open and exposing the prejudices in their Jewish way of thinking. How fickle is human fame. The penthouse one day, the outhouse the next. Welcome to the ministry. If they turned on Him, why do we get shocked when someone turns on us. If they just took some time and searched through the Scriptures they would have known who He was just from the geographical locations that He came from. For example, in the Old Testament, it is written in Micah 5:2 that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2">MIC 5:2 "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, {Too} little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity." Matthew 2:1, "Jesus was born in Bethlehem." In the Old Testament Scriptures, it is written in Hosea 11:1 that Jehovah would call His Son out of Egypt.
Hosea 11:1">HOS 11:1 "When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son." Look at Matthew 2:13-15, Jesus Christ was called out of Egypt. In ISA 11:1, we have the prophecy that He would be a Nazarene, "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch [we saw this word "Netser" which means a branch or a Nazarene] from his roots will bear fruit."
In MAT 2:23 "and came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene."
Then we are told that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah, one of the twelve tribes descended from Jacob, GEN 49:10.
This was fulfilled, in HEB 7:14 "For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah," LUK 3:23-34 tells us the same thing.
Just these few passages alone should have been sufficient proof.
But look at LUK 4:29 "and they rose up and cast Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built," (The brow of that hill by the way, you'll see again in chapter 23 when they crucify Him). Think about what they are thinking. Their shift in attitude anticipates our Lord's last week of His ministry, when the happy shouts of "Hosanna"would swiftly turn into the deadly cries of "Crucify Him!" Right from the beginning, the Messiah tasted the cruel rejection of the friends He came to save. However, this was not His day to die. The One who would later walk across the surging waters of the Sea of Galilee now parted this violent Galilean crowd, LUK 4:30 "But passing through their midst, He went His way."
We noted a principle for our lives here, what do you do when the tide turns against you? At work, with friend's, family, maybe you saw it in the eyes of your brother or sister, or your spouse, or your child. Rejection is a horrible experience. If anyone knows what it feels like to be drenched in a sea of scorn, contempt and rejection, it's Jesus. From His example, here are some life preservers you can hang on to.
1.Do not be surprised or shocked when rejection hits us broadside. Being aware that rejection is not unusual will help us handle the shock without freezing up. This perfect sinless Son of God will go to the ultimate hill and pay the supreme price for the sins of the world. In dying, will actually state words of forgiveness. In LUK 23:34 "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." However, just knowing what the tide is like when it turns against you will go a long way toward keeping you calm during the storm.
2.Don't give up. Jesus passed right through the crowd that intended to throw Him off the cliff. He didn't let one group of people keep Him from pressing on. He just passed through their ranks with plans to go further to others and that's exactly what the rest of this chapter is about. If he had quit, He would have never had that ministry back in Capernaum, which is where He goes next.
3.Don't get sidetracked. After Jesus passed through the crowd, "He went on His way." Literally, He "kept on going." Their rejection couldn't roadblock Him. The path He had begun, He intended to follow to the very end, in spite of the difficulties that would be waiting for Him along the way. Like our own path, we must follow it to the end, in spite of the diffuiculties you can be sure are waiting for you ahead.

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