March 16, 2014

The Keys to Following Jesus

Passage: Luke 10:1-24
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Bible Text: Luke 10:1-24 | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: 40 days of Abiding
In the tenth chapter of the book of Luke, Jesus entrusts seventy of His followers with the mission of being active ambassadors of the kingdom of God. The specifics of this mission, as found in the first twenty-four verses of chapter ten, give us a clear template, or keys, that can be used as guides to assist us in our growth as disciples of Christ (our mission).
Key: The Commission
A specific task, clearly defined…what is the mission we are to accomplish?
Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.
Key: The Focus on Ministry
The specific need…what is the purpose of this mission?
Luke 10:2a Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few;
Key: Prayer
Prayer is a reminder that we aren’t in this alone. Communication with the Lord is critical.
Luke 10:2b therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
Key: Risk Assessment
Understand the potential for conflict or danger.
Luke 10:3 “Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.
Key: Trust
Trust that the Lord will care for your needs on the mission…the faith to travel light!
Luke 10:4 “Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.
Key: Intimacy and Involvement
Successful accomplishment of the mission requires familiarity with the situation and active engagement in the environment.
Luke 10:5-8 “But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ “And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. “And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. “Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.
Key: Healing
Discern areas in need of restoration. Physical wellbeing? Emotional scars? Brokenness of relationship? Trust God to give you wisdom; allow Him to heal the broken.
Luke 10:9 And heal the sick there…
Key: Proclamation
Declare, announce, share!
Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?
Luke 10:9-10 …and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 “But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say…
Key: Prioritization
Don’t waste your time or energy when they could be more effectively used elsewhere.
Luke 10:11 ‘The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you.’
Key: Conviction
Share the truths of the Gospel, allowing the Lord to ignite your passion. The stakes are too high to ignore!
Luke 10:12-15 “But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city.13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 “But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 “And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be thrust down to Hades.
Key: Rejection
Prepare for rejection.
Luke 10:16 “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”
Key: Confidence and Deliverance
Allow the Lord’s provision to build assurance and to provide means of deliverance.
Luke10:17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
In addition to keys for following Jesus, Luke 10 also records one of the greatest gems found in the collection of delegated authority in all of Scripture:
Luke 10:18-20 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.
We will look at this promise from a six-fold perspective.
The source of the promise: “Behold, I . . .”
Someone has said the value of any promise is directly proportionate to the authority of the one who gives it. The “I” is the Son of God whom God the Father has “appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” He is the one who is “the exact representation of His nature. All authority is given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18).
The assurance of the promise: “I give you . . .”
This statement is not for the future, it is now. The verb is in the perfect tense (dedocha), an action completed. They already have the authority promised. Jesus “repeated, ratified and enlarged their commission. . . . They had employed their power vigorously against Satan, and now Christ entrusts them with greater power.”
The gift of the promise: “I give you the authority to trample . . .”
The KJV translates the Greek word used here, exousia, and the word dunamis, used of Satan later in the verse, by “power.” “Dunamis power is might and ability, while exousia is right to act.” The enemy has might and ability. The believer has the right to act. He has delegated authority.
An illustration of the police officer and the semi-truck is often used to point out the difference. The mighty semi-truck comes rolling down the street. As the semi approaches an intersection a policeman steps forward, a gnat in comparison to the mighty truck. Suddenly he raises his hand in a signal that means “Stop!” The semi squeals to a stop. The truck has power, terrible power behind it. It could crush the police officer and continue on its course without even slowing down, but it has no authority to do so. It does not possess the right to act. The police officer does. True, he has no power. What power is there in one hand? However, the authority of the city, the state, and even the nation stands behind him. That delegated authority brings the power of the truck under its control.
Behold,” says Jesus, “I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy.” (Matt. 17:14–21)!
The opposition to the promise:
It is summed up in three words, “serpents,” “scorpions,” and “the enemy.” The authority over serpents and scorpions could be a reference to the serpent of Genesis 3:15. He is the one who will later be called “the enemy.”
In spite of all appearances to the contrary, the enemy is neither omnipresent, omniscient, nor omnipotent. Thus he needs his serpents and scorpions, that is, his angels, demons, and evil spirits, making it appear as if Satan himself is everywhere. The relationship between serpents and scorpions with the enemy in this verse is an anticipation of Ephesians 6:10–12.
The extent of the promise:
“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.”
There can be misapplication in method: Believers have used this verse to go demon hunting, but the promise is to be seen primarily within the context of the missionary mandate. “I have sent you out to continue my redemptive ministry,” Jesus is saying. “The Enemy will oppose you. When he does, I have given you full authority over all his power which he will bring against you.”
There is the misapplication of oversimplification: While our enemies are already defeated they are not dead, not even sickly. Satan is described as the still-active “god of this world” by the apostle Paul years after the Lord’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension (2 Cor. 4:4). Our enemy, though defeated, is still at war with us. He fights until he is forced to withdraw, but it is not a permanent withdrawal. He regroups! He goes on the offense! He continues to prowl about seeking for every possible channel through which he can return (1 Peter 5:8f).
There is the potential abuse of faith and power that can become brazenness and pride: “I can handle it. God has given me authority over the enemy. Let them come. I am ready for them.” We must avoid a spiritual power trip, just as we are to avoid a worldly power trip. This is neither a war with toy soldiers, nor is it a mock battle. It is a dirty, hellish, and painful war with a defeated foe who has not as yet accepted his defeat. There have been and will continue to be many Christian causalities.
There is the misapplication based on fearfulness: “I don’t like serpents and scorpions,” people complain. “While Jesus has given me authority over the Enemy, I don’t want to mess with him. Those who do get into trouble. I have enough trouble as it is without looking for more. Myth: If I leave Satan alone I expect him to reciprocate and leave me alone also.”
The consolation of the promise: “…nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
Is this really true? Yes and no. I say no because all of God’s people who have stood and continue to stand against the Enemy have been and are still being hurt by him; often very painfully. We must remember it was the battered warrior, the apostle Paul who wrote, “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus” (Gal. 6:17). In our warfare, while we will be “cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8– 9), “We are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Rom. 8:37, KJV). “God always leads us in His triumph in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:14). Christ has given us “defensive power” as well as “offensive authority.”
Discussion Questions:
Jesus is very clear in the instructions he gives his followers for accomplishing their mission. Do you believe that mission is the same for believers today? Why or why not?
In what ways do you feel the mission might be easier or more difficult for believers today?
Regarding the specific keys to following Jesus, with which one(s) do you find the most difficulty? Why?
Two of the keys are Intimacy and Involvement: Successful accomplishment of the mission requires familiarity with the situation and active engagement in the environment. Has modern culture affected the way the church views its mission in this regard? If so, how?
Jesus prepared his disciples for the probability of rejection. Have you personally felt the sting of rejection from others as a result of your relationship with Christ? If so, how did you respond? Looking back, would you repeat that response? Why or why not?
The value of any promise is directly proportionate to the authority of the one who gives it. What does this mean regarding the power Jesus gives his followers in Luke 10:19 to “trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy”?
Do you believe that believers are effectively acting on this authority today? Why or Why not?
What is an effective tool, in your opinion, that the enemy uses to deceive and distract believers from the mission?
The enemy is a powerful force, yet he is not omnipotent. Give a specific example of how the keys to following Jesus might be valuable tools in confronting the enemy.
Christ has given us “defensive power” as well as “offensive authority.” What does this mean to you? How might this help a believer in his/her daily walk with Christ?

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