Jesus, The Preacher - [Luke 4:42-44]

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Pastor Mike preaches Jesus, The Preacher - [Luke 4:42-44]

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Well, every Easter season I see the Easter lilies up front, and I become frightened.
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It was a few years ago, maybe 15 years ago now. I could just see the bug coming out of the
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Easter lily flower, and I knew right where it was going to go, and of course it went right down the hatch.
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And so I'm glad they haven't bloomed yet. We're going to be safe. What comes in your mind if I say the word preaching?
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For unbelievers it's probably something negative. Austin O'Malley said,
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Sermons are like pie crust, the shorter the better. H .L.
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Mencken said, What is the function that a clergyman performs? Answer, he gets his living by assuring idiots that he can save them from an imaginary hell.
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It's a business almost indistinguishable from that of a seller of snake oil for rheumatism.
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In our day and age, even the theologian John Stott said, People think preaching is an outmoded form of communication in our postmodern age.
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And you can just hear the unbeliever, who are you to preach to me? But on the other hand, for Christians, when they hear of preaching, they have positive thoughts of preaching.
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Because they know that God's word performs its work in those who believe. They know that preaching is ordained by God and commanded by God.
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They know that people change from one level of glory to another as a fallible sinful man proclaims the truth of God.
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And they also know, you also know dear congregation, that preaching is something that's wonderful because your savior was a preacher.
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Jesus Christ was the prince of preachers. And if you have a Bible today, please turn to the Gospel of Jesus according to Luke.
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And we're going to look at Jesus and his priority of preaching. And the implication is very simple.
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If Jesus had a priority of preaching, I want you to have a priority for preaching as well. If you're new to the church or visiting and you want
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Bible teaching, this is a good opportunity for you because we're just marching through the Gospel of Luke.
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And I want you to know the Bible. This is not a place where I, the pastor, know the
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Bible and you don't get to know the Bible and you have to come to me for the answers. I want you to know the
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Bible as well as I do or even better because we have the words of life in our hands in these days and we can open up and read it whenever we would like.
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The Gospel of Luke highlights the Lord Jesus and it highlights more than his death, although that's very important.
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It highlights more than his resurrection, although that is critical. It highlights his person.
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You get to know who the Lord Jesus is because we've been on that theme lately, have we not, that we never want to separate the benefits of Jesus, forgiveness, justification, sanctification, glorification, comfort.
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We don't want to separate that work from his person who's giving us these things.
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And so the Gospel of Luke highlights the person and work of the Lord Jesus. And it talks early on about Jesus' virgin birth because he couldn't be tainted by sin because he didn't have to pay for his own sin, he couldn't pay for other people's sins.
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It highlights the Father's good pleasure, that the Father is pleased with the Son. This is my beloved
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Son in whom I'm well pleased. It highlights the genealogy, did it not, in the end of chapter 3 where we know this is the right
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Jesus because he has the right pedigree. He comes from the royal line, he comes from the line even going back to Adam.
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And we get highlighted in chapter 4 of Jesus standing against Satan when it comes to temptation.
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Remember three wilderness temptations and in the world people fall to temptations all the time.
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Is there ever a man going to come up and say, to obey is better than sacrifice and I will obey.
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And of course where Adam failed, where David failed, where Israel failed, where Abraham failed and the list goes on and on and on including when we fail.
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The Lord Jesus when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness never failed. And so we've moved to kind of the end of chapter 4 in Luke and we've been looking at the power of Jesus over Satan, over demons, over sickness.
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We've been looking at the deity of Jesus that in fact he is God incarnate. What an amazing thought to think the eternal
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God of the universe as human nature assumes human nature. We've looked at the authority of Jesus 15 times in Luke.
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We see the word authority. He doesn't have authority that's derived like the rabbis quoting such and such and so and so.
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Jesus is God so therefore he has authority. And last time two weeks ago we looked at the compassion of Jesus.
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And of course if you think men should be gentle and compassionate and kind besides strong, of course
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Jesus is the ultimate man. And so we've seen the power, the deity, the authority and the compassion of Jesus.
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And today we're going to look at chapter 4 verses 42 through 44 and we will see the priority of preaching in the life of Jesus.
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It probably shouldn't surprise us because if you go back to chapter 4 verses 18 and 19 where Jesus is in the synagogue in Nazareth, his hometown, quoting
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Isaiah, do you see how many times it says proclaimed? Preachers proclaim, prophets proclaim.
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Chapter 4 verse 18, to proclaim good news to the poor. Later in verse 18, he has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives.
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And then in verse 19, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.
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And so prophets proclaim, preachers proclaim, and that's exactly what the
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Lord Jesus came to do. Big picture theologically, of course, Jesus proclaims law because these are the standards of God.
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This is how God guides his people. This is how God shows sinners that they need a savior. But he also proclaims good news about forgiveness.
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And of course both must be proclaimed, but especially the gospel needs to be proclaimed because the law is written on our hearts in Romans chapter 2.
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We know what's right and wrong inside of us. But inside of us doesn't tell us there's the eternal son who assumes human nature, who lives a perfect life, who dies on the cross and is raised from the dead.
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And by simply believing in him, by faith alone, you can be reconciled, you can be justified, you can be redeemed.
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Law preaching is important, but it's written on our hearts. Gospel preaching, good news preaching, is mandatory, and you'll see that in the life of the
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Lord Jesus. So here's what we're going to do today. Here's our roadmap, here's our outline. First we're going to look at verses 42 through 44.
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Then we're going to look secondly at Mark chapter 1, a parallel passage that gives us some extra insight to what the
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Lord is doing. And then we're going to have some practical takeaways. So simple three -point outline, Luke 4,
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Mark 1, some takeaways. Are we ready? I feel like I should get in a three -point stance. In the old days
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I could do that, but now I can't get up from the stance if I get down into it. We have visitors here, so mind your manners.
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Oh, you are? Well, that's a first.
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Ushers. Luke 4,
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Mark 1, some practical takeaways. Let's take a look at Luke 4, verses 42 through 44.
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And when it was day, he, Jesus, departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him and would have kept him from leaving them.
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But he said to them, I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well.
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For I was sent for this purpose. And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
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So the Lord Jesus comes and he begins to preach. He's a prophet, he's a proclaimer. He speaks forth
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God's word. And of course, remember, this will make you appreciate the Lord more. Remember that God, although you can't see him before the incarnation, he speaks.
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Unlike pagan gods, you can see them, but they can't speak. God proclaims who he is, even on top of Mount Sinai.
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You can't see the invisible spirit, God the Father or the Holy Spirit. But he does talk.
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I'm reminded of Psalm 115. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
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They have mouths, but do not speak. Eyes, but do not see. Ears, but do not hear.
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Noses, and do not smell. And so thankfully, we worship a God who speaks.
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Not just in nature, although that's important because we see his wisdom and his power in nature.
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But he speaks about who he is. His eternal plans. How to be right with him.
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How to be right with one another. And here, after Jesus had done healings, after he had cast out demons, he goes to a desolate place.
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And he begins, Mark will tell us as we'll see momentarily, to pray. Of course
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Jesus is God. But he is also truly human, and you will see the need for rest, and the need for encouragement, and the need for prayer.
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Thankfully here, Capernaum people love him and they don't want him to leave. Quite different from what we just saw in Nazareth, where they were trying to kill him and drive him off the brow.
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The crowds saw what he did with disease and with demons. And they didn't want him to leave.
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And what Jesus says is pretty amazing. I just read it, but it really is amazing. In verse 43,
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I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well, for I was sent for this purpose.
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I was sent by whom? By the Father. This is a divine mission. I'm on a preaching mission.
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And of course, big picture, you can already begin to think, what's more important? Preaching the good news so people can understand how to be right with God eternally?
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Or temporal healing? What's more important? To go to heaven when you die?
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Or to have a healed body on earth and then you die and go to hell? You watch healing ministries across the nation.
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And of course, they're poor when it comes to the gospel, but big when it comes to healing. For the Lord Jesus, it was preaching good news.
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Here's who God is and here's how you can be right with him, through faith and through faith alone. And healing ministry, of course, confirmed the words of Jesus.
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They authenticated the words of Jesus. They pointed to him that he said things that were true because of what he could do.
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But for Jesus, he said, I was sent for this purpose. Just imagine, in eternity past, the
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Father, the Son, and the Spirit together, deciding that it would be the Lord Jesus who would go and become incarnate and to preach.
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Jesus was sent by the Father to do many things, yes, die, yes, perfectly live, but also to proclaim good news of the kingdom.
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I was sent for this reason. Jesus understood his divine calling. And then he went around in verse 44, preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
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It's just a general term for around Galilee, around Israel, around Judea. It's a broad term. Well, now that we've seen that passage, because we've been in the gospel of Luke, I want you to see a parallel passage that's a little bit larger and gives us insight to exactly what's happening with Jesus in this time.
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So let's go to Mark chapter 1. Flip over. One gospel to the left. This is what we call the action gospel.
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If I was going to teach this to young children, I'd tell them this is kind of the Indiana Jones gospel because you go and go and go.
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It's fast -paced. Immediately, immediately, immediately. And we see the exact same situation of Luke 4 in Mark 1, but with some more details.
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They're similar gospels. We call them synoptic gospels. And you'll see here the priority of preaching as well.
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We're all leading to, by the way, at the end, the priority of preaching in a local church.
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No Christianette, no sermonettes for Christianettes. No 10 -minute homilies and 15 -minute little talks.
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The priority of preaching is from our Lord Jesus, and it trickles down through your apostles to us.
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I think what might be good for us to do is go back to chapter 1, verse 21, and I'm going to read through verses 34, which gives us kind of a summary of Luke 4.
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I didn't give you a detailed summary of Luke 4 in my introduction because it is here in Mark chapter 1, verse 21.
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And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority and not as the scribes.
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And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,
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What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the
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Holy One of God. But Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be silent and come out of him.
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And the unclean spirit, convulsing and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed so that they questioned among themselves, saying,
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What is this? A new teaching with authority? He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him?
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And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee. Verse 29 of Mark 1,
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And immediately he left the synagogue, entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Now Simon's mother -in -law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her.
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And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
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That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or who were oppressed by demons, and the whole city was gathered together at the door.
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And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
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Jesus busy, hectic, and now we have kind of like a little interlude.
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There's all this action going on in chapter 1 of Mark, in Luke 4, and now we kind of slow down a little bit.
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There's like a little rest period, there's a little Selah, stop and let that sink in. Verse 35, and this is the parallel passage to Luke 4, 42 to 44.
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And rising very early in the morning, here's a second designation about the time frame. While it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
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While Luke didn't tell us what he was doing, Mark does. Jesus goes and prays. Early in the morning, first watch, it's dark.
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I want to remind you, dear congregation, that when you see the prayer life of Jesus, it is right for you to say, if Jesus prayed,
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I should pray. It is correct for you to draw the conclusion, if the Son of God thought prayer was a priority,
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I should make prayer a priority. It would be right and meet for you to say to yourself, if He had to depend on the
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Father, I should be depending on the Father, and I should have a desire to pray. Pray without ceasing, first Thessalonians.
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Devote yourself to the word and prayer, Colossians chapter 4. Yes, that's true. But remember, the spotlight here is on Jesus primarily.
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When we saw Jesus getting tempted in the wilderness, it teaches us secondarily about how we can overcome temptation by hiding
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God's word in our heart. But it primarily teaches us that Jesus is the one that overcame temptation, and He's our
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Savior, He's our captain, He's our friend, and we stand in Jesus, who never failed. And so similarly, when you see
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Jesus praying, yes, I'll say it again to make sure no one misunderstands me, you should think to yourself, if Jesus thought prayer was important,
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I should. But you should also think, I have the best prayer warrior in the world.
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Jesus prays for me. When I don't pray, He's praying for me. Hebrews chapter 7, this great high priest, remember,
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He always lives to what? Make intercession for you. He's praying for you that when you're tempted, you won't fail.
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And if you do fail, you'll still make it to the end. He's praying that you'll be guarded and protected all the way to glory.
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I don't want you to simply read about Jesus and say, well,
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He's a prayer warrior and I'm not. I want you to think, yes, that's true, but primarily,
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Jesus is my prayer warrior. Of course, priests did two things.
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They made atonement and they prayed for other people. And so Jesus, it says in Hebrews 2, is able to help those who are tempted.
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It says in Hebrews 4, He provides mercy and grace to help them in time of need. Jesus prays for His people to make it to the end.
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The work has been done on Calvary, but He still makes intercession. Does this sound familiar to you?
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Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat. And Jesus said, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.
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So when you look at Jesus praying, I want you to remember that He still prays for you today that your faith might not be failing and you'll make it all the way to the end.
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And of course, that probably should spur us on to pray all the more. When Paul is talking about ultimate glorification for every person, he includes the prayer life of Jesus.
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Listen to Romans 8. What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
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He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?
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Who will bring a charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is
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He that condemns? Christ Jesus who died. More than that, who was raised from life, is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
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Jesus bears the sins of many, Isaiah 53, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
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When you watch Jesus pray, you should say, that's what a man is to do. And I'm thankful that I stand in His good stead.
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And in light of that, I should pray as well. Jesus prayed when He was baptized, Luke 3.
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He prayed before He chose the twelve. He prayed after feeding the five thousand.
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He prayed when He was going to ask the disciples, who do the multitudes say that I am? He took them up,
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Peter, James, and John, to the Mount of Transfiguration, and He prayed before He taught the
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Lord's prayer to the disciples. He prayed. He prayed at Lazarus' tomb, did
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He not? He prays at the institution of the Lord's Supper. He prays at Gethsemane.
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Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from me. Not my will, but Your will be done. He prayed at the cross.
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Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit. He prayed after the resurrection. And so, if your prayer life isn't good,
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I want you to turn to the One who is good, and then you can begin to think to yourself, if Jesus who is holy and undefiled and sinless prayed, ought we not to pray?
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Then in light of that, you can read J .C. Ryle who said, a praying master like Jesus can have no prayerless servants.
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After you look at the prayer life of Jesus, then you say, if He's dependent on the Father, I must be as well.
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Then you can do some of those age -old motivators to pray, like time is never wasted when you're praying.
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No learning can make up for the failure to pray. Well, Jesus goes to pray.
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Now, back into Mark 1, verse 36, and Simon and those who were with him searched for Him, and they found
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Him saying to Him, everyone's looking for You. So, it's dark.
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It's early. First watch of the day, 3 a .m. to 6 a .m., Jesus goes and prays.
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By the way, the word there for prayer in the original is a long prayer meeting. Not just one of these prayers that we say, help
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Lord. A long, protracted prayer meeting. Jesus is praying, and praying, and praying. And guess what?
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Jesus has been healing people, and kind to them, and compassionate to them, not breaking bruised reeds, and not snuffing out smoldering wicks.
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Now it's morning, and guess what happens? If you've got other sick people in your family that haven't been healed, you're going to show up at the door.
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And then you're Simon, and you wake up, and everybody's there to get healed by Jesus, and Jesus isn't there.
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Can you imagine the horror? Simon waking up. There's a bunch of people outside, and now there's no Jesus. I think
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I can hear his heart beating 2 ,000 years later. What do you do? He can't heal people. And the hunt's on.
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Let's go get Jesus. That's exactly the language there. And they search for him.
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This is the language of the English countryside where you've got foxes and hounds tracking someone down.
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This is the language of some detective trying to find someone who's done something wrong.
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They're looking for him. I mean, the swelling crowd, the healing. Something's got to be done.
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Where's your master? Where's your master? Where's Jesus? Simon doesn't know. Jesus got up early and went to pray.
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And I think probably, I mean, I don't know how they said it because I don't watch
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The Chosen, nor should you. Side note, people say
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I love The Chosen. Let me just tell you two things and it'll forever cure you of that. The man who is in charge of The Chosen thinks that the
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Mormon Jesus is the Jesus of the Bible. The man who writes for The Chosen says, well, we only have 5 % of what the
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Bible says, and so we have to make up 95 % of the dialogue because otherwise we can't have episode after episode.
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So do you want to have somebody writing 95 % of the dialogue of the Lord Jesus who thinks that the
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Mormon Jesus is Jesus? I think not. That was my little tangent.
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That was just for free. I was going to say, I just am a guest speaker. I throw the hand grenade out and I walk off.
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But I'll be here next week like I have for 28 years. Lord willing. Besides second commandment violations,
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I don't need to know all the details. Scripture is sufficient. I have everything I need. I would imagine
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Peter's frustrated and he's got his hands on his hips and he says to Jesus with exasperation,
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I don't think that's too far of a stretch, everyone's looking for you. Where are you?
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What's going on? Everyone's looking for you. And then Jesus drops the bomb.
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And He said to them, let us go to the next towns that I may heal everyone there too.
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He probably did heal people at those towns. But that's not what He says because the priority is the eternal, not the temporal.
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The priority is preaching the good news because that saves sinners and transforms saints, justifies, sanctifies.
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Healing ministry is just healing ministry. Did you know every person that got healed ended up dying anyway and standing before God?
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And Jesus said that I may preach there also. This is just similar language to Luke 4.
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For that is why I came out. Healing ministries can in effect eclipse gospel preaching ministries and we can't have that.
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That's why the signs and wonders and healing crusades ought to be looked at with suspicion.
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Years ago I went down to a bad part of Los Angeles called
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Watts and there was an Anglican minister, Dick Lucas, who was going to go preach there. And I thought it was kind of interesting because I've been in parking lots before where there are wrought iron fences on the side in the parking lot of the church.
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But they had wrought iron fences over the parking lot as well so people couldn't climb up and over.
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And so I remember hearing Dick Lucas preach at this church and he said, by the way,
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I've got an easy way for you to ruin your ministry if you're a pastor because it was kind of a pastor's conference. Three easy ways to ruin your ministry.
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Number one, first easy way, get the power to heal all sickness. Second, get a large crowd of sick people.
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And third, turn away and tell them you're going on a preaching trip. That's exactly what
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Jesus was doing. Of course, hundreds, probably thousands of people
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He healed. But that wasn't the main reason He came. Because healing the soul is of ultimate importance.
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And that is through preaching. God's design of preaching. Kind of a funny design almost.
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An interesting design. How can the proclamation of a word cause things to happen? But maybe not so funny when
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God speaks the world into existence. And He says, let there be light. And there was light.
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That's how He creates new hearts and people. Let there be light. Let there be light. That's 2 Corinthians 4 language. Verse 39 of Mark 1.
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And He went out through all Galilee preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. Of course
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He still cast out demons. Of course He still healed. But you see the point. The priority is preaching.
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You might even ask yourself the question, well, why is preaching 45 minutes here at the church and singing is only 20?
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Scripture reading is only 10. There's a reason for that. So we've seen
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Luke 4 and we've seen Mark 1. Now let me give you some practical takeaways that I think you already know but it's good to be reminded of, dear congregation.
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This is a reiteration but I want to make it explicit. Number 1, first takeaway. Don't forget in our day and age the priority of preaching and prayer.
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Don't forget that priority. The climate of the culture of evangelicalism, yes, even
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American religiosity doesn't like preaching. They want dialogue back and forth, not some kind of monological one man up there always saying things.
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They want drama. They want big screens on here to show how courageous we should be with Braveheart excerpts or whatever it might be.
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Video clips of the latest movie deal. But here's an interesting one that we might fall into.
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I don't think we'll fall into those others. Have you ever said this to someone? I'm a visual learner.
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I'm a visual learner. Well, you know what? Everybody's a visual learner. Short of those that don't see, those that are blind.
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You should be a visual learner because when you walk outside, I mean, we just sang that song. Wasn't that a good song, thinking about the fiery stars that God makes?
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And we stand in awe. You look at the ocean, you look at the redwoods, and you think, that is unbelievable that God just makes those things.
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This is creation. The creation shows the handiwork of the creator. And you should be a visual learner when you see those babies born.
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I think there's something in the water at Bethlehem Bible Church. We have so many, they're not new members, they're little vipers and diapers, right?
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Did I say that? We're so thankful for these children being born. And I remember watching,
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I was once working in the operating room, and then my four children watching five children be born. It's unbelievable.
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And you think, I'm a visual learner. I see that. And I think, no amount of evolution can ever account for that.
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None. Your blood's too thin, you bleed out. Your blood's too thick, it can't go through the heart.
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And over and over and over. And you think, that is amazing. Of course, most people believe in evolution because they suppress the truth of God and unrighteousness,
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Romans 1. We should be visual learners. But to learn the plan of God, and to learn
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His person, His character, you cannot look at the ocean or an egg and say,
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God is triune. You cannot say to yourself, Jesus is truly God and truly man, by looking at the ocean.
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You cannot determine some of these things unless God speaks. And so God speaks, and while we are visual learners for creation, we are auditory, aural, a -u -r -a -l learners when it comes to God's word.
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And if that's how we learn about God, then it has to be proclaimed. Now, sometimes we think, we have our
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Bibles at home, and our Bible devotions are the most important. They are, of course, important. You have a
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Bible, why wouldn't you read it? I try to read my Bible every single day. I've been keeping up with the
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Robert Murray McShane plan, and I'm in Exodus now, etc., probably with you. But there's something to be said for the proclamation of God's word, even on the
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Lord's Day, on Sunday. How are people transformed into one likeness of image to the other?
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Well, there are many ways, but at the top of the list is the proclamation of God's word. And dear congregation,
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I know you love preaching, because otherwise you wouldn't be here. And so, I commend you and encourage you to make sure you love that.
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Even though you say, pastor's not perfect, certainly that's true. But the Scriptures are perfect, and God could tell us, just read
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Scriptures, but He said, you somebody that is a redeemed sinner, say the words of God from the pulpit.
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We want to make sure, while society hates preaching, it hates the word of God, it hates Christianity, it hates absolute truth.
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No wonder why tolerance is so up. If there's no truth, then we have to tolerate everybody else's truths. But you, dear congregation, hold the line when it comes to preaching.
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I was in India once, and I was a speaker, and when I'm a speaker, I kind of like to just sit in the back, but I was told to sit up in the front.
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That's where I was supposed to sit. Okay, fine. And they had a video screen up on the platform, because John MacArthur was speaking live from California, how many hours later.
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And if you're in India, it's half -hour time changes, too. I knew
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I was in a different culture when the Indian standard time was 4 .30 in the afternoon, and it was 8 a .m.
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or whatever here. And so they had MacArthur with a screen here, they had the projector, John was live, and then they had a camera here to show the congregation.
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He even said to me, oh, hi, Mike. And I'm thinking, John's in California, I'm in India, and he's saying, hello, Mike. This guy, while John was preaching, talking about the sufficiency of Jesus, and talking about we don't need signs and wonders, we have everything we need spiritually in the text.
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This guy walked right up past me. I thought he was part of the team. And he walks up around, and he takes the screen, and slams it on the ground, and starts stomping on the screen.
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Now, John can't see, but I can see. Later they told me, oh, this man had an epileptic seizure. I said, no, he didn't.
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I think he was probably seized by demons, but that's another whole story. Or as a flesh. And of course, the video is still projected back there on the wall, kind of like on this curtain thing.
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And I thought, that is just such a great illustration about how people hate preaching. And I hope you, dear congregation, have the attitude, let's say you're a
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Christian, and you say, you know, I was reading this, and it's talking about election, just as he chose us and him before the foundation of the world.
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I know you bristle. I know you don't want to think about unconditional election. I know predestination, etc., etc.,
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and all the implications. But what God says, He says. And the
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Holy Spirit didn't make a mistake when He included that in Holy Writ. And so, if you think something, but you see something, hear something, we submit, and we change our mind, and we simply repent.
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Yes, my mom taught that, my old pastor taught that, but the Scriptures clearly teach that, I submit.
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Isn't that the right way to go about it? If the Lord Jesus corrects us, that's what we do.
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We simply repent. G .C. Ryle said, beware of despising preaching.
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In every age, it has been God's principal instrument for the awakening of sinners and the edifying of saints.
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The days when there has been little or no preaching, listen, have been days when there has been little or no good done in the church.
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Let us hear sermons in a prayerful and reverent frame of mind, and remember that they are the principal engines which
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Christ Himself employed when He was upon earth. This is only anecdotal, but I think it's true.
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Years ago, when the internet first came out, I loved to get into these chat rooms and debate people. And so far,
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I'm O of 10 ,000. I haven't convinced one person online of my views. But you know what changes people?
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Week in and week out, sitting underneath the ministry of God's Word. And many of you
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I've met, you used to be this and now you're that when it comes to theological frameworks. Because God's Word is true, and it changes you.
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You say, I'd like to be a better husband, a better wife, a better worker. It's the Word of God continually changing you.
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1 Thessalonians 2 .13 is true. It works in those who believe. That's why number two, take away, you should judge every ministry that you listen to online, or even this one, by the proclamation of God's Word.
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I know you listen online to people. I love to listen to sermons too, because I want to learn sermons. And this week,
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I listened to a couple of Sinclair Ferguson sermons. There's obviously nothing wrong with that. But every time you turn a podcast on, why do young people call them pods, by the way?
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That's like an alien movie to me. The pods. Evasion of the body snatchers. Whatever you do, dear congregation, as your pastor,
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I want you to make sure you evaluate them on the Word of God and the Word of God alone.
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And so when it comes to churches, it's not music, it's not how big they are, how friendly the people are. We want to make sure we're friendly, etc.
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That's true. But it's the Word of God. And Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2, we don't peddle
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God's Word. We don't sell it and kind of shuck it like some huckster. He says in chapter 4, we don't practice cunning and we don't tamper with God's Word.
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One of the best things about Bethlehem Bible Church is many of you have been here 30 years and you know the Word. A dozen of you have probably been to seminary and many of you know
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Greek and Hebrew and you know, okay, what he says is true. Because we're going to be like Bereans and make sure this is actually true.
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I do a lot of things in my life that I probably shouldn't do. But I am determined and resolved by God's grace and the
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Holy Spirit that when I get up here and proclaim the Word, it's going to be after study and it's going to be from the
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Word where you can see it yourself. My dad used to say things like, well, if it was a bunch of boys around, he'd say, okay girls.
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He'd say that. He also said, I don't trust that guy. I trust that guy as far as I could throw him.
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Ten years ago I was 50 pounds heavier, so you'd have to trust me more than I guess, but the point is still true. Nobody loved me enough to tell me that I needed to lose weight.
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You gauge ministries based on the proclamation of God's Word. That's it. Because the priority is preaching.
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People go to heaven through the preaching of the Gospel. They go to hell when they reject the
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Gospel or have any sin in their life, which they all do. You become more like Christ. You sin less.
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You overcome temptation more through the preaching of the Gospel. What do you think the satanic attack is going to be?
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Why did I read Ephesians 6 to start the service? Because it is an all -out attack on preaching. You say, well,
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I don't preach. Well, you teach Sunday school. You teach your children at home, moms and dads.
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You teach AWANA, our Bible program for children on Wednesday. You teach Vacation Bible School.
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You evangelize. There's many ways you all teach. And so it's the priority of preaching and teaching.
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Because Jesus had the priority of preaching and teaching. Now for the last few minutes,
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I just want you to turn to 2 Timothy 4 so you can see it in the apostolic message from Paul to Timothy his understudy.
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This is Paul's last book he ever wrote before he was beheaded on the Apsian Way according to tradition.
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And what does he want to tell Timothy, his legate, his understudy, his child in the faith?
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You know the passage. But just to reiterate, the priority of preaching. Once again, I think
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Bethlehem Bible Church, you as a congregation, you understand this. I got a text today from my friend who only occasionally attends here.
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He said, I should have got there early. The parking lot was full and I had to turn around. Why are people here?
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That's a good question. Because the pastor's wife is nice? Well, maybe a few of you have become that way.
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I don't know. Certainly not the parking lot. We want to hear from God.
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It has nothing to do with me. If you know me well, you know I'm frail and I'm sinful. But the Word of God is holy and inerrant and infallible and authoritative and sufficient and it changes you.
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And you've been given an appetite by the Spirit of God to listen to it. How do you know you're a Christian? Many ways.
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Number one way, you trust in the risen Savior who died for your sins. Secondarily, though, subjectively, you say,
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I used to hate things and now I love them. I used to hate fellowship. I used to hate sticking around church.
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When we were not saved, you go to church and you had to leave immediately. Get there last second, leave immediately.
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You don't want to talk to anybody. And now we can't kick you people out. Fast enough. And by the way, if you have to leave to go to a game or something today, we'll take notes of who you are.
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We're looking at you, judging you. 2
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Timothy 4, 2 Preach the Word. There you have it.
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It's as plain as day. Herald it. Make the proclamation. Hear ye, hear ye. And preach the
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Word includes all 66 books of the Bible. That's true. But who's the center of all those 66 books?
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The Word of God that became flesh. This is not just Word in general. This is Word in general including the
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Word Jesus Christ. That's who we preach. And when do you preach
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Him? When you feel like it and when you don't. In season and out of season.
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Those are the two times you preach. And how do you preach? With urgency.
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In season and out of season. Whether it's welcomed or not. I read a story about a minister who was rushed to the hospital according to one account and an inexperienced nurse was assigned to him.
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She put the barometer in his mouth instead of a thermometer. It read dry and windy.
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There's no closed season when it's preaching. Because lives are on the line. In all seriousness, if you're here today and you're not a
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Christian, one day you're going to die. It could be today. And you will stand before a thrice holy
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God and give an account of everything you've said and done or not said and done. And then what?
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Eternity. Eternity. And God will give you a body designed for the fires of hell to last forever as you will rightly get justice.
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That's why it's so important. Because you know deep down in your conscience you in fact have sinned. Other people know you've sinned.
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God knows you've sinned. Why is preaching so important? Because you can be liberated.
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The person who I just said that to is not a Christian. You can be liberated and forgiven. I offer you through Scriptures with Isaiah 55.
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Come, buy water without cost. It costs you nothing. It's faith in faith alone.
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Not baptism, not confirmation, not last rites. Nothing. By faith alone.
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Because if it was something we did, it would be tainted by sin. That's why it's faith in the object. Jesus, who's the perfect man who lived the perfect life you're required to live, who died on the cross for the sins that we've committed and was raised from the dead.
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Why is preaching so important? Because someone today by the Spirit's regenerating power could be going to hell this morning and now heaven this afternoon.
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And for Christians, then we're reminded of that and we're thankful and we think, you know, I have other problems in my life, but my biggest problem has been taken care of.
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Did you know that? The biggest problem you'll ever have, sin against a thrice holy God, has been taken care of.
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Paid in full. So why do we worry? Why do we complain? The Word should be preached not just urgently, but see, in the end of verse 2, preached, let's call it suitably.
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There's reproving. This is what sin is. Rebuking, you do that sin.
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The Nathan's finger to David. And then, exhorting. Basically, this is conviction, and then balm.
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That word for exhort is where we get our word for the comfort from the Holy Spirit. And so, in essence, we preach the law to convict, and then we preach who
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Jesus is to give comfort. Of course preachers do that. You shouldn't walk out of the sermon only feeling conviction, because we want to make sure this is a
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Christian message and there's the balm of the Gospel. Sometimes I have to tell parents and other pastors and Bible teachers, if you're only reproving and rebuking, something's not right.
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Just like if you want to discipline a child, what good parent does not after they discipline a child, say to them,
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I love you. I'm not mad at you. I forgive you. And that's what preaching does.
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We get convicted, and then we get encouraged. And by the way, we're in this for the long haul. Urgently, suitably, look at the end of verse 2, patiently, with great patience, to remain under preaching.
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You don't have to manipulate. I don't want to manipulate anyone.
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People say, well, you came from a background of sales. That's true. I try to preach persuasively, but not with some selling tactic.
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Think about what Jesus talked about often in his parables. Seeds, growing, time, agriculture, farming.
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Every farmer knows you better be patient, among other things. And then lastly, we'll end here. How should preaching be done?
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When you preach the word Jesus and all of his word, Genesis through Revelation, how do you preach?
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With urgency, suitably, patiently, and lastly, doctrinally. It's right there in the text, verse 2.
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With great patience and teaching and instruction. The word is doctrine.
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Well, I don't really like doctrine. Well, of course you like doctrine, but you've just been somehow taught that wrongly.
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No creed but the Bible. By the way, that is a creed. No creed but the Bible. We want to teach doctrinally and give you the supports underneath where these truths come from and where they stem.
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Titus, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with teaching that he may be able to both exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict.
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Titus 2, but as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. We preach doctrine unapologetically.
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JC Ryle, the victories of Christianity wherever they have been won, have been won by distinct theology.
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Theology just means something about God that's true. If you've got strong temptations and strong trials, do you want weak doctrines?
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Do you want watered down theology? No, that's not going to help. And we better do this because verse 1 says,
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I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead and by his appearing and his kingdom, then preach the word.
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That little creed, that little formula, probably right there in chapter 4, verse 1 reminds every pastor and those who dare to teach the
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Bible I charge you, Paul said. Solemnly swear. Put your right hand on the Bible as it were.
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Well, dear congregation, today we've seen in Luke 4, Jesus had a priority of preaching. Healing was important.
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It showed his compassionate as a suffering servant, but preaching was a priority because it saves and it sanctifies.
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Mark 1 taught the same thing. While everybody's screwing around trying to find Jesus, he had a mission to preach.
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On the way to the cross, he was preaching, proclaiming the truth. And because of that, we need to keep our priority of preaching at Bethlehem Bible Church.
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I know you believe that because otherwise you wouldn't be here. So would you pray, my final takeaway, would you please pray for the doctrinal fidelity at this church?
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I don't know how long I'll live. I have some health problems. I could live another 15 years, another 30 years, or how old was
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Methuselah? 969. One day
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I'll be gone. Do you think I'd like to have someone come and just try to undo everything we've done with just weak, doctrinal, motivating, moralistic, pietistic pablum?
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Of course not. Because we want to pass the baton to the next generation for the proclamation of God's truth in the pulpit till the end.
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God has designed that the truth of the gospel made its way all the way to West Boylston and so we want to hold firm that very truth.
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Right? And you can do that by teaching your own children and by praying for the pulpit and insisting upon doctrine from this pulpit.
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Let's pray. Thank you, Father, for your word. Jesus, the greatest preacher ever preached.
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We all struggle with preaching because sometimes we're convicted. Father, would you forgive us? I'm sure
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I don't make it easy sometimes for the congregation to love preaching if I get in the way. So forgive me for that.
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And Father, we trust, even though we can't see our daily growth because of preaching, we know it's true.
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Something is happening to us when we sit underneath the word of God, not just intellectually, although that's true, but spiritually as your spirit freely, wonderfully not only illumines but conforms us to Christ's image.
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May Bethlehem Bible Church, while I'm here and one day when I'm gone, proclaim the truth of God in season and out of season with reproof, with rebuking, with exhortation and comfort, with patience and in doctrine for Christ's sake.