Quit Trusting In Yourself
March 22, 2020 | Randy Smith
Quit Trusting In Yourself
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Pastor Randy Smith
Well, good morning Grace Bible Church family. That has always been my title for this church, but now more than ever we need to remember we are a family. And as a family, we need to pray for each other, support each other (especially with our public comments) and still communicate with each other, now in ways that are new and creative. May the “body life” continue.
As a church leadership, we have been working very hard through prayer, discussion and the consultation with experts to make the best possible decisions for this church. We do not take our responsibility lightly, especially in trying times such as these. We are committed to shepherd you faithfully through regular office hours, over-communication and teaching (specifically, the daily podcasts, Wednesday night update and Sunday morning online service). We encourage you to meet together in small groups, to the degree you feel comfortable and are in line with government restrictions, and take advantage of the technology to have online gatherings.
As mentioned last week, I plan to continue teaching through the Gospel of Luke. Today’s sermon will be three “meditations” from chapter 18. Like last week, I will also include three discussion questions where you can pause the video if you wish and think things through by yourself or talk about it with your family. The title of the sermon (and the main point) is “Quit Trusting in Yourself .”
Let’s read the entire section together beginning at verse 28. “Peter said, ‘Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You.’ And He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.’ Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.’ But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said” (Lk. 18:28-34).
Allow me to re-read verse 34. “But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said.”
If the disciples misunderstood Jesus, it is safe to say we need to be suspicious of our thoughts as well.
Isaiah 55:8–9, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Ezekiel 18:29, “But the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Are My ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not right?’” Psalm 50:21, “These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.”
You can see where we are going.
Regarding Your Salvation (review)
So, three points today. The first one is by way of review from the past two weeks. Do not trust in yourself regarding God’s plan of salvation. Be suspicious!
We’ve covered this in detail, but this one, most of all, is essential to understand correctly. Human beings from their existence have scripted what they believe to be God’s plan of salvation. Yet God’s plan of salvation, as stated in the Bible, is completely different.
So, before we get into discussing this, pause the video and talk about the difference between man’s plan of salvation and God’s plan of salvation. If you need some help, try to include these words: good deeds verses grace, religion verses relationship, works verses faith, idols verses Jesus Christ.
The man-centered, man-honoring, man-concocted gospel goes like this: You can achieve your salvation by what you must do. It could be morality or good deeds or religion or often a combination of the three. If you do what it takes, God will receive you into His presence.
The biblical gospel goes like this: You are a rotten sinner that has violated God’s will. The only hope you have is God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ who gave His life and rose from the dead to take away sin. If you trust Christ through faith, you can be saved on the basis of God’s grace and mercy.
This concept was taught so clearly by our Lord in verses 16 and 17. “But Jesus called for them, saying, ‘Permit the children to come to Me , and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.’”
What comes to mind when you think of a baby? Utter helplessness! Total dependence!
I remember bringing our firstborn child home from the hospital when she was just two days old. Julie and I were thinking, this is not a gallon of milk in the backseat, this is a human being and her survival depends totally on us!
Jesus Christ achieved our salvation entirely through His work. And we receive Christ entirely by our faith. What kind of faith? Childlike faith of total trust and total dependence. We are helpless with nothing to contribute like a newborn in relation to a parent.
So, consider that in light of some of the character’s we’ve been introduced to.
Consider the Pharisee, who boasted of his good deeds before God (verses 11 and 12) and compared himself to others (verse 11). He didn’t trust in God to declare Him righteous by God’s work, rather (verse 9) he trusted in his own righteousness and declared himself to be righteous by his works. Man-made religion.
So similar to the Rich Young Ruler from last week (verses 18-25). Thinking he was good because of all the commandments that he thought he perfectly obeyed. Such deception! So deceived that after seeking eternal life from Jesus, he walked away from Jesus “sad” and rejected what Christ Himself had to offer (verse 23). This is the man who literally had it all and he still knew he was missing something, but he refused to accept salvation based upon God’s terms.
On the contrary, consider the Tax Collector. What a contrast! What childlike faith! Verse 13, “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’” And our Lord’s response in verse 14, “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Regarding Your Reward (verses 28–30)
Another man-made conclusion, as we move to the second point and the new material is the belief that following God results in a loss of enjoyment in this life. Many think this way: Of course, we all want salvation, but to get joy in the afterlife you need to sacrifice joy in this life.
I remember thinking as a child, and so incorrectly on many accounts, that you guaranteed yourself heaven if you enter the priesthood, but the trade-off here and now really wasn’t worth it.
In man’s way of thinking, you need to make the decision between joy now or joy later. You can’t have both. According to Jesus, that conclusion is unbiblical and not God-centered.
Take for example the Rich Young Ruler from last week. Because we cannot serve two Gods and this man’s god was his money, Jesus told him to (verse 22), “Sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor.” Of course, a huge sacrifice. But what was the trade off? Don’t miss the remaining words in the verse! “And you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me .” There is nothing we give to the Lord that He does not bless us with greater reward! What we sow is what we will reap.
Well, you say that verse pertains to treasures in heaven. Sure, but about verses 28-30? “Peter said, ‘Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You.’ In response to our Lord’s statement about the Rich Young Ruler, Peter spoke of the sacrifice he and the other disciples made. And our Lord’s response? “And He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time.” Did you hear that? Greater blessing now (and he goes on to say) “and in the age to come, eternal life.” Even greater blessings in the future.
C.S. Lewis has written extensively and powerfully on this subject. “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” Or one of my favorites. “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Peter’s comments are testimony of true faith, but was Peter looking for our Lord’s pity with his remarks in verse 28? Possibly. But our Lord’s response was basically that there is no sorrow in what we do for His name when you consider how He delivers greater rewards in return. You could even make the statement, that when it comes to serving Jesus there is no sacrifice. Technically the sacrifice is the man-centered religion that believes that serving Jesus results is lesser gain and lesser return. Is it a sacrifice when we give up to get more?
Living without Christ is the sacrifice! Walking without His blessings in the flesh is the sacrifice as we deal with anxiety, fear, discontent, jealousy, bitterness, marital strife, materialism and grumbling. That is the sacrifice!
Consider words from the great missionary, David Livingstone: “For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice.”
Elsewhere he said, “If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?”
Once more, “I never made a sacrifice. We ought not to talk of sacrifice when we remember the great sacrifice that He made who left his Father's throne on high to give Himself for us.”
Be suspicious if you ever believe serving our Lord will lessen your joy. And remember the greater the so-called sacrifice, the greater your blessing both now and in a fuller sense in the life to come. Our Lord is always faithful to give us back much more than we give Him. Here’s a great verse: “For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints” (Heb. 6:10).
Discuss what prevents you from giving the Lord more of your time, talents and treasures?
Regarding The Work Of Christ (verses 31–34)
So, it is natural to think about spiritual matters and when we think according our own intuition because of our fallen man-centeredness and lack of wisdom, we will almost always come to a wrong conclusion. Technically it will be just the opposite of what is taught by God in the Bible. Therefore, we must be suspicious regarding our thoughts and ensure our thoughts are always in line with the Scriptures.
As we move to the third point and final point, we want to look specifically at the way Jesus accomplished our salvation. This is contrary to all word religions, contrary to human wisdom and even contrary to the way our Lord’s own disciples were thinking as we see in verse 34. As a matter of fact, God’s way of salvation is so radical that verse 34 says, “The meaning of this statement was hidden from them.” Why? Because, 1 Corinthians 2:14, “Natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”
You see, the Jews were looking forward to the Messiah. And they scripted the Messiah’s arrival and plans according to their own beliefs. Basically, even as a Gentile 2,000 years later, it’s a script I would have written myself. The Messiah will judge God’s enemies, overthrow the Roman occupation, be received by the religious establishment, believed upon by the nations and ride off on the white horse in triumph as He establishes God’s kingdom on earth.
No wonder (verse 34) “the disciples” did not “understand” or “comprehend the things that were said.”
Begin reading with me in verse 31. “Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem [the place where they want to kill you?], and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished [what things?]. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles [the heathen?], and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him [what? physical, emotional pain and humiliation?], they will kill Him [the Messiah, God will die?]; and the third day He will rise again [can’t believe that one!].’”
Isn’t it interesting that when Jesus said these things elsewhere (recorded in Matthew in Mark) the disciples argued as to who would be the greatest in the kingdom? Or how about Peter’s response from Matthew 16, “God forbid it, Lord.” Jesus responds, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me ; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (Mt. 16:23). That is just in line with what we’ve been learning!
But this was taught by the prophets .
Pause the video and read the entire Chapter of Isaiah 53.
This was also taught by Jesus already.
Pause and read Luke 9:21-22 and Luke 9:44-45.
So, this was the plan from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). The Lamb of God would be the sacrifice to pay the full penalty for our sins. He would take our sins upon Himself and He would be judged by the Father in our place . This was always the plan. As Luke says later in Acts, “[the primary cause] This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, [and here are the secondary causes] you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death” (Lk. 2:23). It makes perfect sense to those who have eyes to see. Yet, 1 Corinthians 1:18, “The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Why don’t you pause the video one final time and discuss how God’s plan does make sense – why it is the only acceptable way and how God’s plan brings Him the ultimate glory.
So, that will wrap things up for this service. Thanks for watching and remember to see God though biblical glasses during these difficult days. Do not think like the world! He is sovereign and may He use you to show others the hope that is found in Christ. And as we learned today, God’s richest blessings are often through the pathway of suffering. We are praying for you and we are here to serve you during this time of trial. May God bless you and let’s conclude our time together in prayer.