Offering the Best Help | Luke 11:45-54

Offering the Best Help | Luke 11:45-54

Offering the Best Help

Introduction

Luke 11:45-54 ESV  One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.”  (46)  And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.  (47)  Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed.  (48)  So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs.  (49)  Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’  (50)  so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,  (51)  from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.  (52)  Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”  (53)  As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things,  (54)  lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.

  • You know, can I be honest… I really wanted to start this sermon off with a few lawyer jokes…
    • I mean this whole passage is about lawyers getting offended at what Christ was saying…
    • But when I tried to look some up they were all really mean, and the truth is I know some awesome and Godly lawyers.
    • So we are going to skip the lawyer jokes and go right into preaching, how does that sound church?!

Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray

  • This morning I want to talk about offering the Best Help

Pull Up Title Slide

  • As a church, and as Christians in general, it should be well know that we are helpers.
    • We like to help people, we want to love people by helping…
    • In fact, if we don’t love helping people then we need to have a big heart check, amen?!

James 2:15-16 ESV  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  (16)  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?

James 1:27 ESV  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Mark 12:30-31 ESV  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  (31)  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

  • Right, these are some pretty common verses that show that Christians should most definitely be helping others, serving others, loving others…
    • But there are so many ways to help…
    • We could give money to the homeless…
    • We could even open up our houses to those on the streets…
    • We can volunteer at food shelters…
    • We can go on international missions to help the down and out in other nations..
    • We can work with addicts and criminals…
    • We can visit jails and hospitals…
  • There are so many different ways we can help, some more effective than others.
    • I have done all of these, and then some… many of you have too.
  • But church, I have to be honest, my time here on earth is short… 80… 90 years if the Lord tarries and allows.
    • In light of eternity, what is 90 years? Mathematically it is NOTHING!
    • You literally have next to no time here on earth, almost none at all when compared to eternity… so we would do well to find the BEST way to help others.
    • We would do well to offer the best help as believers to those who need it, and to those who need Jesus…
  • So today we are going to talk about OFFERING THE BEST HELO

Point One – Bear the Weight of Righteousness Together

  • Point one this mooring: Bear the weight of righteousness together.

Luke 11:46-51 ESV  And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.  (47)  Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed.  (48)  So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs.  (49)  Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’  (50)  so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,  (51)  from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.

  • Woah, Jesus is saying a lot here, let’s break it down.
    • Jesus had just finished rebuking the Pharisees for looking holy but actually being sinful in their heart.
    • The Lawyers at the table, who decided how to enforce the law of God, they were offended.
    • And Jesus rebukes them…
      • He says that the blood of ALL the prophets who were killed are on their hand.
      • He starts with Able, the first ever martyr, and says “You will be found guilty of his death!”
      • Then Jesus goes to Zechariah, who was the last martyr in 2 Chronicles, the last book in the Jewish Bible at the time.
        • Jesus says “You are responsible for killing Zechariah, the last martyr, and Abel, the first martyr… and you are responsible for killing all the martyrs in between!”
      • Why does Jesus say this? Because the were plotting to kill Him, the King of the Jews, the King of the prophets… the great I AM in the flesh! They were going to kill the author of salvation! Through whom all things were made!
      • They were going to kill the cornerstone that holds all the prophets together.
        • Therefore they would have blood on their hands…

Luke 11:50 ESV  so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,

  • Now the worst part of all of this is that just like the Pharisees, the Lawyers pretended to be holy. They presented themselves as holy.
    • They created this beautiful memorials and tombs on the graves of the prophets to honor them.
      • They spent a TON of money putting on a show of holiness, but they never actually did anything to help anyone… in fact they often made it harder.
  • Church, as a pastor that last statement hits me hard…
    • Here are a group of people who want everyone to believe how holy they are, so they spend tons of time and money building beautiful structures so the world can see just how holy they are… but they don’t actually help anyone.
    • How many churches in America are like that… FATHER LET US NOT BE COUNTED AMONGST THEM!
      • Let us honor you in all things, even in buildings and memorials… but let it be from the foundations of love, and help, and holiness, not of pride, and greed, and self-righteousness.
    • How many churches spend so much money on big buildings, and light shows, and productions, and steeples… yet do little to nothing to help people.
  • If we don’t want to be like that, church, we must actively fight against it. We must strive to offer the best kind of help and love to the world, not neglecting the church building, or the memorials, or a spirit of excellence in service…
    • but choosing first to show God’s righteousness and Grace and Power through extravagant love, instead of first choosing to show His Grace and Righteousness and Power through extravagant spending.
    • THAT WAS GOOD, LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN: We must choose first to show God’s righteousness and Grace and Power through extravagant love, instead of first choosing to show His Grace and Righteousness and Power through extravagant spending.
  • So then, what is the best way to help? It starts by sharing the burden of righteousness… you see, that’s the opposite of what the lawyers did…

Luke 11:46 ESV  And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.

  • The lawyers loved preaching about righteousness, and repentance, and they loved talking about how horrible sin was.
    • And they were likely good at it too, really making people feel bad about the loads of sin they were responsible for.
  • But the problem was not that the lawyers talk about sin and righteousness a lot… though they probably used shame as a tactic which is always wrong…
    • But ultimately the problem was that they were not HELPING people bear the weight of righteousness.
  • The Christian life is called “The good fight” and the “Long race”.
    • We are called to train for battle, to endure, to press through…
  • If righteousness was a light weight, then the Christian life would be called “A good nap” or “a nice stroll through the park”. But it’s not defined that way.
  • In fact, righteousness is an incredibly burden to bear…
    • For those of you who don’t know, righteousness means “living in right standing with God”… it means living sin free and helping and loving others always.
  • Let me say it again… righteousness is an incredibly heavy burden to bear…
    • And the lawyers loved to make sure everyone knew just how heavy it was…
    • And when they got done pointing out everyone’s sin and why they are so horrible, they would say “Welp, good luck fixing that, wish you were HOLY like me”…
    • The Lawyers would say “Your yoke is hard and your burden is heavy… sucks to be you!”
  • But what does Jesus say? Jesus says “Your yoke is hard, your burden is heavy… let me take that for you, because my yoke is easy and my burden is light… you take my easy yoke, you take my light burden, and I will help you carry yours”.

Matthew 11:29-30 ESV  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  (30)  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

  • You see Jesus had a better plan than the lawyers… He said “Yeah the weight of righteousness is hard… how about I help”.
    • NOW HERE IS THE TRICK CHURCH… HERE IS THE KEY TAKE AWAY…
      • WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE JESUS.
        • Imagine if we said “Brother, I see you struggling in sin… let me help you get through it.”
        • “Sister… I get it, I have been there… can I help you through it?!”
  • I am going to give practical examples of this in the conclusion, for now let me end this point with this passage from Galatians

Galatians 6:1-2 ESV  Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.  (2)  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Point Two – Be in the Word Together

  • Now point two I am going to make short, and it really goes hand in hand with point one… it is simply this: BE IN THE WORD TOGETHER.
  • Back to our text in Luke:

Luke 11:52 ESV  Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”

  • You see the lawyers thought they were so smart… they thought they were so holy… they taught that only THEY were allowed to read the word of God.
    • The taught that only THEY were allowed to read the Bible.
      • They even sometimes made it illegal for others to read and study the Bible!
    • They hindered people from true knowledge…
    • And they themselves didn’t even understand it.
  • Guy’s this happens in churches all the time…
    • I hope that if you stay in Cedar Rapids that this is your home church, but should you move… find a Bible believing church that encourages you to read the Word for yourselves…
    • NEVER go to a church that discourages you from reading your Bible.
      • Because what that says is that whoever is in leadership doesn’t want you to know what is in there.
      • Because they are teaching something or doing something contrary to the Word of God.
    • And church, let me ask you, if you don’t read your Bible, how do you know I am not a nut job?! I could be making this all up! Get in your word church… but even better, get in your word together!
  • Study and pray daily in private, then get someone to study with you!
    • This is why we have discipleship, to encourage two believers to study together, to learn together, to grow together.
    • If you are not in a one on one discipleship relationship or in a discipleship group… you need to get in one…
    • Otherwise you are going to be a dull blade!

Proverbs 27:17 ESV  Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

  • Iron sharpens iron, we sharpen one another church! That’s one of the many reasons we do discipleship! Get in a discipleship relationship!

Luke 11:52 ESV  Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”

  • You as a Christian have the key to knowledge, Jesus Christ as revealed through the entirety of Scripture.
    • You have the key to knowledge in that the Holy Spirit, our Paraclete, our Helper, is with you instruction you should you open the Word.
    • You have the key to knowledge but you have to open the door, and while you are at it, why don’t you hold the door for someone behind you too… That’s the heart of a discipler!

Conclusion

  • Let’s conclude with the Gospel, as we always do, then we will talk about some practical ways to apply this message…
  • ALTAR CALL GOSPEL MESSAGE
  • Now, at the beginning of the sermon I talked about some ways we might help people… but I want to show you the BEST ways we can be doing these things…
    • We could give money to the homeless…
      • But if we just give money to the homeless we could be enabling them… what if instead we took them to dinner, and talked to them. Found out there story, prayed with them… invited them to find Jesus.
      • What if after they find Christ we helped them find a job… then an apartment…
        • It can happen, it happened to Jesi!!!!
    • We could even open up our houses to those on the streets…
      • That’s something Amanda and I do when moved by the Spirit… and if you are willing to do this, watch how you can help bear the weight of righteousness…
        • What if the next time you talked with someone living with a girlfriend or boyfriend… you know they are in sin, you have warned them of sin… but they are living together…
          • What if you opened your house to one of them so they can get out of that sin…
          • Amanda and I have done that, and you will be amazed what God can do when a sinful relationship stops being sinful.
    • We can volunteer at food shelters…
      • And feeding the hungry is so important… but don’t stop at feeding physical food… when we volunteer at Mission of Hope as a church we sit down and eat lunch with those we served. We pray for them and invite them to church, some have even come to Christ because of it!
    • We can go on international missions to help the down and out in other nations…
      • BUT WHAT GOOD HAVE WE DONE IF NO ONE FINDS CHRIST…
        • How much sweeter it is to visit an orphanage, to bring toys and gifts to give away… but to not just give away physical things… but to preach the gospel and lead orphans to Christ… like we did in Guatemala… those kids are orphans no longer, they have a Father in heaven now, and a family all over the globe.
    • We can work with addicts and criminals…
      • But what if we meet with them weekly… to learn, grow, pray, and just talk…
      • You know I was an addict… and it wasn’t until three other Christian men agreed to meet weekly with for YEARS that I was able to break free.
    • We can visit jails and hospitals…
      • But lets not stop short at a hug and a smile… let’s bring prophetic words, let’s bring powerful prayers… let’s bring the word of God so that those jail cells and hospital rooms turn into church sanctuaries…
  • THIS IS HOW WE BRING THE BEST HELP, CHURCH. Let’s pray!

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