Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm19971008.htm
LUKE: GOSPEL OF CERTIFYING THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
Part X: Christianity's Validity Via Its Call To Love And Subordination To God's Messengers By John
Lesson: Christianity is true because it did not rise as a mere faulty, natural reactionary movement to what evils it faced, but started a godly response to evil that was innately unadulterated by that evil.
- With the rise of many top-down, self-seeking governmental agency abuses as found in the IRS or the EPA, or even such similar political intrigues we have seen in apostate Church matters, the temptation is for Chistians to react with such distrust and defensiveness that they themselves fall into similar bankruptcy.
- In his appearance to Israel as Christ's forerunner, John the Baptizer had a call to his generation in Israel that urged people to buck the tide of reactionism to such evil, and that by a true spirituality as follows:
- Christianity's Validity Via Its Call To Love And Subordination To God's Messengers By John.
- The age when John appeared to Israel was one marked by selfishness, hatred and forced subordination:
- The rulers over Israel were oppressive men who forced subordination:
- Tiberius Caesar was so self-centered and hateful that his own countrymen smothered him to death to stop his destructive rampage on the city of Rome, G. Campbell Morgan, Luke, p. 48; Lk. 3:1a.
- Pontius Pilate, governor of Judaea, was known for his cruel oppression of crucifying people and of mingling the blood of Galilean Jews with their sacrifices, Lk. 3:1b with Lk. 13:1.
- These rulers were also incredibly self-serving at the cost of others around them:
- Herod the tetrarch wooed Herodias, wife of his brother Philip away from him, Lk. 3:1c; Mtt. 14:1-4.
- Though Annas had been deposed by the Romans as the High Priest, and though his son-in-law, Caiaphas ruled as figurehead, the self-centered Annas still led by influence so that the high priesthood was referred to by two names, that of Annas and Caiaphas, Lk. 3:2.
- Tiberius Caesar was so known for his lustful lifestyle in retirement that a rumor was begun in Rome that he had killed himself with carousing when as yet it had not occurred, Ibid., Morgan.
- John's message revealed that the selfishness, hatred and forced subordination had leeched on down from the leaders to the people, and that God wanted people instead to love and be subordinate to God's leaders:
- John complained that the people were horribly insubordinate to God's leaders, Lk. 3:7.
- By calling the multitudes a brood of vipers like John here does, Jesus meant that His generation fit the attitude of their forefathers who killed the prophets God had sent their ways, Mtt. 23:31-36.
- Accordingly, John's reference to this phrase pictured the hissing secret whispers of plotters who had hated God's messengers and had risen up against them to harm them, Lk. 3:7.
- Thus, he called them to heed his call and repent regarding such insubordinate attitudes, Lk. 3:8-9:
- He warned them to perform works of righteousness rather than insubordinate destructiveness, 3:8a.
- He warned them to look to God for salvation rather than depend on their heritage for salvation, 3:8b.
- He warned them that God was about to judge every Hebrew who was not living uprightly, Lk. 3:9.
- When people heeded his call and submitted to John's message, asking what good works they were to do, John called each group to loving acts of selflessness toward one another, Lk. 3:10-14.
- Those with means were to care for those less fortunate and share their tunicsout of love, Lk. 3:11.
- Those who had been grossly selfish as tax collectors were to receive only what the government exacted instead of taxing people much more than that as was the common, evil practice, Lk. 3:12-13.
- Roman soldiers seeking a godly lifestyle from John were ordered to avoid treating people under them with force, and not to use that force to extort money that did not belong to them, Lk. 3:14.
Application: In our zeal to respond to the gross selfishness, hatred and top-down, forced rule that is rampant in our ungodly world, God does not want us to react in kind so that the very vices we despise are practiced by us in the name of Christ. Rather, (a) we are to be subordinate to God's leaders, not insubordinate just because we chaffed under godless past religious leaders. (b) Instead of being selfish to protect ourselves, we must afford to be selfless in faith that God will take car e of our needs though we give to meet the needs of others around us.