A very proper lady began planning a week’s camping vacation for her and her Baptist Church group. She wrote to a campground for reservations. She wanted to make sure that the campground was
fully equipped and modern, but couldn’t bring herself to write the word “toilet” in her letter. So, she decided on the old-fashioned term “Bathroom Commode” Once written down she still was not comfortable. Finally she decided on the abbreviation “B.C.” and wrote, “Does your campground have its own “B.C.”?
When the campground owner received the letter, he couldn’t figure out what she meant by “B.C.” He showed it to several of the campers, one of whom suggested the lady was obviously referring to a Baptist Church since there was a letterhead on the paper which referred to a Baptist Church.
So he sent this reply:
Dear Madam: The B.C. is located nine miles from the campground in a beautiful grove of trees. I admit it is quite a distance if you are in the habit of going regularly. No doubt you will be pleased to know that it will seat 350 people at one time, and it is open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday of each week. Some folks like to take their lunch and make a day of it. The acoustics are very good, so everyone can hear even the quietest passages. It may interest you to know that my daughter met her husband there. We are also having a fund-raiser to purchase new seats, as the old ones have holes in them. Unfortunately my wife is ill and has not been able to attend regularly. It’s been a good six months since she last went. It pains her very much not to be able to go more often. As we grow older, it seems to be more of an effort, especially in cold weather. Perhaps I could accompany you the first time you go, sit with you, and introduce you to all the other folks who will be there.
Do not be ashamed to speak about the church.
Today’s message begins a micro-series [WE ARE] in a macro-series [ALL ABOUT JESUS]. We are going to remind ourselves who “We Are” as the church (both The Church and the church @ SPBC). It is helpful to do this at the start of a new year. In starting 2011 we did the same looking at our church “Vision & Values”. So, we continue to set our sights on who we are and where we are going. And we will do so this year using the phrase “Growing Godly Generations” along with our mission statement of equipping people to “Love God, Love Others and Lead Generations” as the framework for this micro-series.
Audio: on Media link
EXAMINE Luke 2:22-52 We are Growing [Godly Generations]: Love God
So far in Luke’s Gospel we have seen that Luke, as an intelligent and careful investigator, is writing about the events surrounding Jesus’ birth and life. He opens with showing how God gives extraordinary news to ordinary people. Zechariah & Elizabeth (older generation) are told they will have a baby – John. Joseph & Mary (younger generation) are told they will have a baby – Jesus. These babies were prophesied and would initiate God’s plan of redemption. These first chapters contain unique blend of ordinary – people as builders, teens, seniors, priests, shepherds; places of rural insignificance likeNazarethandBethlehem, inns and mangers – with the extraordinary – prophecies, angels, divine sovereignty of circumstances.
Today’s passage of Luke 2:22-52 shows Mary & Joseph bringing their child to theJerusalemTemple. This would have been according to their religious custom (OT/Law of Moses) to dedicate their child and offer sacrifices. Luke notes the parents do not offer the required lamb sacrifice but the exception to the poor of doves and pigeons. Obviously, Mary & Joseph had not received the gifts (gold, frankincense, myrrh) of the Magi yet. It is also a reminder that God is not concerned with the size of the gift but the heart of the giver. God is honored by worship in truth and spirit.
And following this child dedication provides us 2 ways: of how We are “Growing” to “Love God”
1. By seeing & savoring Jesus (2:22-35)
Luke introduces us to a righteous and devout man named Simeon. He had been waiting for the consolation ofIsrael. In other words, he was a man of faithful prayer and patience, trusting God’s plan to bring about his and his nation’s deliverance.
When Simeon sets his sight on the child Jesus he praises God. His eyes had seen God’s salvation and he savored the opportunity. And more, Joseph and Mary marvel at Simeon’s blessing.
The point for us is to identify with Simeon. Personally, I am convicted by Simeon. There are many times when I am impatient and would likely rush God’s timing or worse, attempt to solve circumstances with human solutions. In contrast, Simeon was a man of prayer, patience and persistence in following the Holy Spirit’s leadership in his life. One of my prayers for 2012 is to become more like Simeon. Simeon teaches us to see and savor. The Bible tells us that though we have physical eyes we still may not see.
Jesus says in Matthew 13:13-14, there will be some who “indeed hear but never understand, and will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull and with their ears they can barely hear and their eyes they have closed…”
2 Corinthians 4:4 “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ”
In Ephesians 1:17-19, Paul prays “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe”
Psalm 34:8 “taste and see that the Lord is good”
John 17:24 Jesus prays for his disciples to “see my glory”
µ Together we see Jesus when we intersect our lives in honest groans.
- Becoming a body that lives out Romans 12:12, 15 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer…rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep”
µ Together we see Jesus in worship gatherings & bible groups.
- Pray for and Participate in each
- Participate in “SPBC Luke Challenge” to see Jesus
µ Together we see Jesus when we go to those unreached.
- Luke 1:30-32 “of all peoples… light to the Gentiles and for glory to Israel”
- Local: Walk across the room or street to invest-invite-incarnate the gospel with people
- Global: SENT 2012: Jan 8 @SPBC with GBBC; Feb 12 @GBBC
Lord Jesus, reveal yourself to us as our Savior from sin, Lord of life and King of all. Peel back the layers of darkness and doubt that cover our soul, choke our joy and ceases our passions for you. Draw our gaze to that which is ultimate – your glory! And cause us to see and savor! Open the eyes of our hearts. Help us to look differently and discern life from an eternal perspective. Turn our eyes and affections away from evil and turn us toward righteousness. Move us to see beyond ourselves to be a light unto a world in need of help and hope that comes when we live out your kingdom agenda of making disciples of all nations, loving our neighbors through tangible deeds and allowing your Holy Spirit to empower us for your kingdom work. This is our desire, this is our prayer.
2. By trusting and treasuring Jesus (2:36-52)
Luke continues the eyewitness events of Jesus at theTemple.
The first to note was Anna. She was a prophetess who spent much time fasting and worshiping at theTemple. She had been married for 7 years and then her husband died. She was not 84-years old, so the bulk of her life was one or hardship and longing for hope. She, like Simeon, had showed patience and persistence for God’s plan of redemption. When she sees Jesus, she gives thanks to God and tells many others of God’s salvation.
The second account is that of Mary & Joseph, as Jesus’ parents when he was 12-years old. They had made the weeklong journey fromNazarethtoJerusalemfor the Passover Feast. Jesus, at 12-years old would have been viewed close to the age of responsibility, which shows why his parents left him alone. Yet, after a day had passed without finding him they returned toJerusalemand found Jesus in the temple listening and asking questions of the religious teachers. In addition, Jesus was also sharing his own insight and teaching. Mary & Joseph’s search caused them “distress”. Jesus’ response is significant in pointing to his identity and future mission – “I must be in my Father’s house”. Mary treasured up these things.
Luke’s Gospel shows that every person surrounding Jesus will go through times of uncertainty. There will be challenges and hardship to bring a crisis of faith. The response of unbelief or faith is crucial and Luke wants to bring us to a similar encounter. Will you turn away or toward Jesus? Will you trust and treasure Jesus in the midst of life uncertainties?
When you see Jesus, you savor Jesus; you trust and treasure Jesus.
µ Jesus changes your perspective on life’s priorities.
- what is right and what is wrong
- how to make decisions
- when to give, forgive and keep loving in relationships and when to draw the line in the sand to compromising values and standards
µ Jesus changes your perspective on life’s problems.
- diagnosis for those problems
- the strategy and solution for solving those problems
This is the goal of AAJ sermon series to see Jesus for whom and how the Bible presents him. C.S. Lewis “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” We seek to be a church that is and is equipping people to Grow to Love God by seeing and savoring; trusting and treasuring Jesus.