The Uncomfortable Truth of the Gospel: 2016 Gospel of Luke #64
This is an exposition of Luke 16:14-18. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, July 2, 2017.
“Can’t we all just get along?” Isn’t that what we all want? I think most of us are adverse to controversy. Oh, we all know those folks who live to argue but most of us would be content to “live and let live” but is that possible if truth really exists? If there is such a thing as “truth” with a capital “T,” that is something that is always true at all times and in all places can we say, “Live and let live?” Particularly if we are talking about spiritual matters. If what we believe is true, salvation is found in Christ and in Christ alone, and we’ve been commanded by our God to take that message to the world, can we peacefully coexist with those who reject and outright deny that truth? I’m not talking about “armed rebellion” or legislative action, when I say peacefully coexist I’m simply asking, “Can we remain silent and let folks believe and think as they wish without our saying something?” Granted it is clear our position has been losing ground for at least 20 years. The moral tide has shifted so radically in the last 5 years it makes one’s head spin but this has been coming for a lot longer period of time. In a culture that refuses to accept absolutes, that demands that truth is relative and self-defined it is considered an unpardonable sin to suggest that someone is wrong or that a belief is false. For too long for fear of being labeled a fanatic or branded a troublemaker believers have remained silent. In an attempt to be loving we instead committed a cruel act of hatred by not telling the truth. Crying, “Peace” in a time of danger is not love. It is at best cowardice and at worst hate. Love demands we speak the truth even if it is uncomfortable. Love demands we risk being misunderstand. Love demands we speak the truth of the Gospel as the only means of rescuing the lost and dying. Yes, we speak it in love and with compassion but we speak it. We declare the truth with humility and grace but we declare it. For an example of this we need look no further than to our Lord himself. Our text this morning is found in Luke Luke 16 beginning with Luke 16:14.
Text: Luke 16:14-18
The context is that our Lord is on his way to Jerusalem to die.
Back in Luke 9 he set his face for Jerusalem – he steadfastly determined to go there.
There is no turning back, the time set by the Father in eternity past has now come.
He is marching to the cross.
Along the way he is teaching and preaching.
He is, at various points, drawn into conflict with the Religious Establishment.
The Scribes and Pharisees have been plotting on how to be rid of this trouble-making rabbi.
There was that dinner party in the home of a Pharisee.
There was subsequent instruction about the cost of discipleship.
There was that rebuke of the RE’s impure motives.
He spoke of the darkness of their hearts in the parable of the Great Banquet.
There was the parable of lost things – contrasting the love of God with the coldness of the RE.
Then at the beginning of Luke 16 that strange parable about the shrewd manager.
This was a word to his “disciples” (1) about the proper use of material blessing for the kingdom purposes, the need for faithfulness and the folly of trying to serve 2 masters.
That bring us to our text. The religious establishment has been listening to all of this. They can contain themselves no longer. There is an interruption and some subsequent words. We begin with Luke 16:14…
From this brief exchange we are reminded that…
Thesis: Heaven is not gained through meticulous adherence to rules and regulations but by simple faith and trust in the Gospel.
There are 3 things I want us to note in our text.
- The unrighteous mock and readily dismiss the plain truth of Scripture when it contradicts their sinful desires. (16:14)
- Our Lord rightly rebukes any and all attempts at self-justification. (16:15)
- The only way to enter the kingdom is to understand the right use of the law and the absolute necessity of grace. (16:16-18)