Jesus Savior of America
By Bobby Blakey on July 7, 2022
Jesus Savior of America
By Bobby Blakey on July 7, 2022
I want to invite you to open up the Gospel of Luke and turn with me to Luke chapter two, which we've just started reading Luke together as a church. And if you're a part of our church, I hope this will inspire you to read Luke with us, or help you get more into it, if you are reading Luke with us. Every passage I turned to, every scripture we read together, we're just going to study from the Gospel of Luke together here tonight. It's the only book of the Bible I brought up here with me. And if you are just joining us here at the church tonight, what is he talking about, this joy, this salvation, what this work that Jesus has done in his life? And we want you to hear about that we want everybody to hear what the angels said when they came from heaven, and they brought the good news here to Earth. So, this is often referred to as the Christmas story. But really, this is the Christian story. This is Luke 2:8:
“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’”
Can I get an Amen from anybody just reading that? So, this might be something you've heard. I mean, some of us might have heard Linus, Charlie Brown's friend, read this to us before. This is the classic Christmas story. And it's unfortunate that it only gets talked about one time of the year because this is actually God sending angels. “Angel,” it's a word that means “messenger” in the Greek language. And in fact, if you look at verses 10 and 11, verses I want to zoom in on with you; these are the verses where the angel said to them, “Fear not for behold, I bring you good news” – that word there has angel in it. It's basically like the angel says, hey, don't be afraid, I'm Angelizing you, is basically what he says. So, we think of Angel as like some kind of spiritual being. But the purpose of an angel, as we often see in the Scripture, is an angel is bringing a message from God. This is the third time this has happened in Luke in chapter one, an angel came to Zechariah and told him that he was going to have John the Baptist as his son. And in chapter one, an angel came and spoke to Mary that she was going to have Jesus as her son. And now we've got an angel coming and telling the shepherds that, hey, I have a message for you. See this word “Angelos” in the Greek about the angel? Well, it's “euangelizo,” “eu” as a prefix means good. So, it's like I have a good messaging for you, or I have good news for you. And really what he says here is so amazing, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
So, you might have got a handout coming in. And if you want to take some notes on what we're going to learn from these verses, the good news is mega joy in Jesus. That's what it's saying right here. If you want to have great joy… and this good news of great joy is for all people, so, the claim here, the announcement from heaven to earth, what the angel says on behalf of God. And they're afraid when they see an angel because the angel is shining with the glory of God. But the angel says, hey, you don't need to have that great fear, because I'm actually bringing you news of great joy. And the Greek word for great here is “megas”. So why don't we understand what that means that we're talking about? Not just going large, we're going mega size here. Okay? What we're saying is that people who come here and join us at the church, and they really believe in Jesus, they end up having mega joy in their lives. Can I get an Amen from anybody on that?
When we just heard of testimony, you can be at fire camp, you can be in prison, and you're feeling a kind of liberation, a kind of freedom, a kind of joy and peace like you've never known before. That's the good news. So, what we're offering here is real, like, internal satisfaction in your soul. Okay? That's the idea. So, joy is this idea of joy is an important concept. Here in the Gospel of Luke, the promise from the angel is that this message will, which we'll get to in a minute, it's going to bring you great joy. And this message is for everyone. Now just skip with me to the end of the book, go to Luke chapter 24. Go all the way to the end. Spoiler alert, everybody, this is we're just jumping straight to the end. This is how I would want to know if it says I'm going to have great joy. If it says there's going to be this mega thing that God does inside of me that leads me through feeling the way that's better, that's more than I have ever felt before. If that's the claim that the angels make in chapter 2, is there a payoff? Well, let's just get straight to the end, Luke chapter 24. Jesus, he goes up into heaven here at the end of Luke, he ascends into heaven. Look at verse 52. This is the last two verses, Luke 24:52. “And they worshipped him.” As they see Jesus, who's now died on the cross, who's now risen on the third day, and they see him go up into the clouds. They worshipped him. And they “returned to Jerusalem with” – what does it say their everybody? “Great joy.” Okay, and we're continually in the temple blessing God. So, the angel comes to bring some good news, the promises that the good news comes with great joy for people and the disciples. The people who come to see who Jesus is come to believe in him, follow him when they see Jesus go up into heaven. At the end of the book, they worship Jesus. And it says that they go back to Jerusalem with great joy, and they're in the temple blessing God. And then it leads to the sequel, The Book of Acts, where the message and the witness of Jesus spreads all over the world, but it promises great joy. And the claim of Luke is that great joy is found for those who receive this good news.
Now, go back all the way to the beginning, chapter 1 of Luke, chapter 1, verse 1, and in case you haven't been reading with us, let me make sure you see the beginning. Because Luke is claiming that everything he's writing is well researched. He's talked, he's read or talk to original sources, and he's claiming that everything he's presenting to us, is the facts. It says here in Luke 1:1, “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us.” So basically, verse 1, he's saying, just like some people have written, and verse 2, like other people have said, people who were there and they saw what Jesus did. And they told us what they saw. So, he's got written sources. He's got eyewitness oral accounts. And then he says this in verse 3: “It seems good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you most excellent Theophilus,” who's may be the man who commissioned him to do this work of writing this work of history here. And the reason he wrote this verse for “that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” I want you to know that what you've heard about Jesus is true, I want you to be certain. So, the claim of the Gospel of Luke is that he has talked to the sources or read the written sources of the eyewitnesses. And he's put it all together in this orderly account, this very organized narrative of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And when you study what Luke says in this book, you will have certainty in the teaching of Jesus. So, this is claiming to be true, it is claiming to be news from heaven to you. And if you really believe this, you will have mega joy in your life. Does anybody here just want to testify right now that you do have great joy because you have believed in the good news of Jesus? Does anybody here want to say that that's what Chris just said to all of us, that he found that good news in prison. And if you know Chris, like you could see the guy, his last name is Truelove. Nobody's ever had a better last name than Chris. All right. I mean, the guy lives it out here at the church. He's been living here among us, for years, showing us that Jesus has done something in his life. And it's powerful to see that's the claim of the Gospel of Luke, that if you hear what heaven is telling us about Jesus, if you really believe this message, you will have great joy.
Now, I understand we're all skeptics these days because we've all been overpromised. And we've all been underdelivered. And we've all had so many people disappoint us. So many people in politics, maybe even people who are pastors in churches who claim that they were all about Jesus, and actually what happened was very disappointing. And a lot of it did not lead to people having great joy. So, I understand that it might be hard to believe, but Luke is writing, and he's saying that you can be certain. And he's saying that everyone who believes in this good news will have great joy and that this is for all the people. So, you might have heard some bad versions of this good news. But what Luke is writing, he's saying, hey, this is to help you have certainty in what you have been taught. And look at verse 11. Look at what the core of the teaching is. Go back to Luke 2:11, because after this expectation that this is good news of great joy for all people, it then says this. This is the good news, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David,” which we know as Bethlehem… and then it says this, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” It teaches you right there three things about who we know as Jesus. He's been born in Bethlehem, and he is the Savior, who is Christ, the Lord. These are three different titles that can open up our eyes to see who Jesus really is. And there's good news that God has sent the angel from heaven to announce. And then after we say this, verse 13, the whole heavenly host, the whole army of angels, the whole angelic choir is all there to say, “Glory to God in the highest.” So, this is the announcement and it's not just the Christmas announcement, this is the announcement from heaven to earth that there has been born unto you, a Savior. Now, being saved is the point of the Gospel of Luke. This is all an announcement that someone has come, and he's come to save you. That's the implication.
Let's get this down for point number one: You need a Savior. And what you need to save you from is sin. And we'll get to more of that here in a minute. But the idea that there is a Savior who needs to come, and the Savior is not just in the mind of the people at this time. He's not just going to save them from sin. He's going to save them from the Romans who are ruling over them. I mean, this is the Jewish people they're expecting a king to come, they're expecting a restoration of the nation of Israel. And this king, he's going to save them politically. He's going to bless them physically. They're going to have peace. They're going to be blessed with wealth and health, like they're expecting these promises that are going to come true and his Savior is going to come. And this has been the theme. Go back to chapter 1 and look what Mary says after the angel comes to her and says, you're going to have a baby, it's going to be the Son of God. It's a miracle. Look what Mary says – this is Luke 1:46. Mary says, “My soul” – so inside of her, that's what we're talking about great joy inside of you, and who you really are in your soul. “My soul magnifies the Lord.” That's Mary saying, my soul is making the name of the Lord great. My soul is lifting high who our God is. She’s saying, I want to make much of God and here's why. Verse 47, “my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” And Mary’s saying, she knows that God is saving her and she's got great joy because she's got God who is her savior. See, knowing the Savior is what brings the great joy. At least that's what Mary says. In fact, Mary says that he has looked on the humble estate. So, Mary doesn't think she's anybody special. Mary wouldn't want anybody praying to her. That's not what Mary was about. Mary was about, I want to make the name of the Lord great because he's my Savior, and I rejoice in my God. And she wants everybody to know, verse 49, “he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” Mary wants everybody praying to God, not her. She wants everybody worshipping her savior. It's not about her. That's the idea. She's rejoicing in her savior.
Go over to what Zechariah says in Luke 1:67 after he's able to speak again. After he saw an angel, Zechariah says, starting here in verse 68, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.” So, here's Zechariah. Now he's believing the word of the Lord, that there was going to be someone who would come to save the nation of Israel, someone in the line of King David, someone who would be born in the city of David, Bethlehem. And now, here's Zechariah, before it even happens, already announcing that God is raising up a horn of salvation, a trumpet of salvation, let's blow that salvation horn so everybody can hear that our God's saves his people. So, anybody who's speaking here, and Luke, Mar, Zechariah, now the angel, it's all about a savior.
Go over to chapter 2. And we meet this guy Simeon, and he says something in verse 29 when he sees baby Jesus in the temple, and Luke 2:29, Simeon, this old man of faith, who's waiting for the consolation of Israel, he's waiting for the kingdom to come. He says, Lord, now You are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation. Who has he just seen when he says this? Who is he holding in his arms? Little baby Jesus. Do you realize when he sees the baby Jesus who has been born, he says, I have seen your salvation? He's saying, I have seen the Savior. And he doesn't even just say that it's for him. No, my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, all the nations of the earth, and for glory to your people Israel. Like when he holds Jesus, when he sees the baby that's been born, he says, I see salvation, and it’s salvation for all people. So, the announcement, the point that Luke is trying to make and everybody every character he really introduces to us, they're all saying that a savior has come.
Go to chapter three. The big announcement comes from John the Baptist. Look at Luke 3:4, it quotes Isaiah, the prophet, about John the Baptist. So, John the Baptist is the forerunner. He's the one who comes to tell everybody about the Savior before. He's like the height man. He's the announcer. He's building up, hey, he's coming, get ready everybody. And look what it says as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” That's John the Baptist. Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the rough places shall become level ways. And then underlying this circle … write this down under point number one: All flesh shall see the salvation of God. The point of the Gospel of Luke is that you would meet the Savior, every character we seriously get introduced to is saying that God has come to save us. He sent His Son to save us. Jesus is the one who's coming to save us, and everybody can see him, whether you're a Jew waiting for the kingdom to be restored, whether you're a Gentile from every different nation, tribe and tongue, there is a Savior who has come. This is the message that the Savior has been born. And he's coming for you, for all of us. And so that is specifically what we're saying.
Go back to Luke 2:11. Now that we can see the big news is this Savior, well, then it gives two other titles. And we want to make sure we understand all these things. Unto you is born in the city of David, a Savior, who is … what does it say next, everybody? Who is what? Christ. Now one of the things we've really tried to do at this church, and hopefully you're with me on this, if you've been here, and some of you have, as we've tried to make it very clear to everybody here that Christ is not Jesus’ last name. All right? We've tried to make it very clear that Christ is a title, that and what in the Hebrew they would say it Messiah. And really, if you translate it, it means “Anointed One.” And there was one that was hinted at, that was prophesied, that there were many pictures of, and this one when he came this One who would be anointed by God, when He came. See, that's how God would save His people. And so, the claim here is that the Savior is the one. Okay, so it's not like there's many saviors. This is, like, we might think, like, this person has been a savior. Like maybe if there was a great president, or maybe if there was a great leader in history, maybe even going back throughout world history. And you think through some of the big names that ran some of the big empires, or you think through people who did things like, end slavery when it was wrong here in America, and you think about historical figures, that you might say, oh, they were a savior at that place at that time. We're starting to make a distinction here. Jesus is not just one of the saving kind of figures throughout history; Jesus is the one, that's what the Christ is saying. So, he said, so we can't start putting this in with all the religions or, yeah, he's the savior to the Jews, but this group of people over here, they've got a different savior, or over here in America, we don't really need Jesus. We might have a different way that we're going to go, no, this is saying more than just, he's the savior for one group of people at one place in time. It's saying that he is the one, the Anointed One; all other little ones are pointing to him as the big one. Jesus is “the Way the Truth and the Life no one gets to the Father, except through Him” when you want to be saved. If you want to have a Savior, there is only one name given among men under heaven, by which anyone can be saved. And his name is Jesus, he's the Savior, he is the one.
Let's get that down for number two: You need to trust the one who died and rose again, trust the one who died and rose again. So, Jesus is not just one of the good figures throughout history, not just teaching a way of love and compassion, and treating others in the same that you want to be treated. Jesus is not a good teacher, he is the Anointed One of the living God. He is the really only Savior who can give you this great joy that Luke is promising, or that the angel from heaven is promising. Go again to the end of the book and let me just give you the message that Jesus leaves us with in Luke 24. Right before they end with the great joy, Jesus makes sure they have the message straight because, as you read through Luke, you're going to notice that his disciples, sometimes it really seems like they get who he is. Sometimes it seems like they're confused. Sometimes they have strong faith. Sometimes they're ye of little faith. Maybe that's even how it feels like to us. It's like, sometimes it's really clear that it's all about Jesus. Sometimes it gets confusing, but it's very clear here at the end, when Jesus says, Look at Verse 44. These are the last words from Jesus we have in the Gospel of Luke, then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, and the prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” All the prophecies in the Hebrew Bible, I had to fulfill them all, basically saying, I'm the Messiah that they were all waiting for coming out of the Hebrew Scriptures. And then verse 45, “Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” Like they have this aha moment where the light bulb goes on, and their hearts burn, and they can see Jesus in the Scripture. And he said to them, thus it is written, here's the summary of the message, that the Christ, the Anointed One, should suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. And that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name, in the name of Jesus alone, the only name to all nations. It's not just for one group of people. It's not just for the Jews. It's not just for a Christian nation, as opposed to different kinds of nations. No, this is for all nations, beginning from Jerusalem, you are witnesses of these things. So, this is the good news, specifically, the gospel message is that Jesus is the one that came to take your place, by dying on that cross, by suffering your judgment. And then on the third day, just as he said, just as it was prophesied, he rose. And He showed that he had won a victory over sin, over death, over judgment, and that everyone who believes in Jesus, they're not going to experience the wages of their sin in death and judgment. But everyone who believes in Jesus, they will have the power of his resurrection, and like him, they will rise to eternal life. That is the gospel message. That is what you have to believe. That is the good news of great joy for all people. And there is only one message from heaven to earth that can fill your soul with joy. And it's this. Now, I loved how Chris said it in that video, because what he said was all the burdens, all the problems, everything that I thought was wrong in my life, I realized it was my sin. That was the issue. And when I realized that Jesus, in His precious blood, on that cross paid for my sin, and then he rose from the dead. See, that is the power to save you when you believe in that good news. He is the Savior. He is the Christ.
Go back to Luke chapter 2 now with me, because it presents this third idea. And this would be kind of a new idea. And this is the idea that the angel is introducing, and the rest of the Gospel of Luke is going to start, they would have known that a Savior was coming. They weren't expecting a king to come and rescue them as a nation. They would have known that Christ was coming, that all the prophecies of the Hebrew Bible, that the anointed one, the prophet, priest, and King, they knew he was coming, but the fact that he is the Lord and what that really means. See, that's the thing, that this announcement here and he's the savior, who is the Christ, the Lord. Now this word for “Lord,” they might have used it like Sir, or they might have used it like boss these days. I don't know if this ever happens to you. But sometimes when I go to a place like Taco Bell, somebody takes my order, and they're like, what's your order, boss? Does anybody else ever get that? Or is that just for a guy like me? I'm not sure how this works, right? But I get like, boss, right? Sometimes I get chief, which always makes me feel awkward, right? Because I'm pretty sure I'm not the boss at Taco Bell. Right? But I get it. But see, so sometimes this word would be used like that. And as you read through the Gospel of Luke, sometimes you'll see people are just saying to Jesus, Sir, or they're just saying to him, Master, like he's the boss, like he's in charge, like he's a good teacher. But you'll see what Luke is really saying, and even what Jesus says about himself. And what people have their eyes open to see is that Jesus is not just somebody here on earth, that Jesus is the Lord of heaven and earth, that Jesus actually is in charge of all the nations on planet Earth. That Jesus is actually in charge of all the physical things that happen on planet Earth, that Jesus is actually in charge of your soul and where you go, like, how long you live? When do you die? And after you die what happens to you? That's Jesus. He is the Lord. Like, he is God who put on flesh. Yes, he's born as a baby. Yes, he lives as a man. But people have their eyes open to see that he is the Lord, like he is one with the Father, like he is God, the King above all kings, the Lord above all lords. See, if you think we're just saying that there was a man 2000 years ago who died for your sins, and if you believe in him, your life will be better if you just think that's what we're saying. We're saying something way more than that. We're saying something way crazier than that. We're saying that Jesus, he has the power over death. Like we're saying that he rose from the dead. And he ascended, he went up into the clouds into heaven, into a realm that we can't see. And he is now exalted, and he's at the right hand of God, the Father of the Majesty on high, he's at the right hand of the throne, in heaven, and someday at the name of Jesus, every knee will hit the ground, and every single mouth will say that Jesus is that guy, right? There he is, the boss, and everyone will know it. That's what we're saying. We're saying that it's Jesus' world, and you just happen to live in it. That's the point of the Gospel of Luke. And the angels say it and the shepherds run, and they see the first way that it's kind of shown as this little baby in an animal feeding trough. And so that doesn't seem like boom, all the power of the universe, right there. But as we go through Luke, if you read it with us, you're going to see what happens when people realize they are in the presence, not just of the man, Jesus, but they are in the presence of the Lord. And it's just powerful what's going to happen when people's eyes are open to see who Jesus really is, that he is the Lord of all.
So, let's get this down for point number three: Call on the Lord of all. What we want people to do as they come and join us here at our church is we want them to call on the Lord of all. We're not just saying Jesus is the Lord of us here at the church, or we're not even just saying that I've made Jesus Lord of my life, and I've surrendered my life, and I've decided to follow Jesus, and there's no turning back for me. I've turned my eyes on to Jesus. So, Jesus is my lord. See, we're not saying that we make Jesus Lord, we're saying that Jesus is Lord of all, and he just opened our eyes to see it. And now we're going to confess it. Now we're going to acknowledge it. Now we're going to say what the angel said, what other people in Luke are going to say, we're going to say that Jesus is the Lord of heaven and earth, and we gather together to worship in his name. That's what we're going to say. And so, we want you to have the same experience, like when you find out that Jesus is Lord, it's not necessarily like this pleasant feeling. Like when you find out that Jesus is Lord, it's an overwhelming thing that happens in your life, because you have basically been living, like your life is your own. You can do whatever you want with it. You're your own boss, your own chief, you call the shots in your own life. And when you realize that the whole time you've been doing you and Jesus is actually the one who is Lord over you, that he is Lord of all and he reigned supreme. And he's going to decide what happens to you. The first time you realize the authority that Jesus has over your life, it's unsettling. It's not always like, hey, Jesus is my boss. It's like, you see people, it is heavy. It is like they realize that the reality that they have been living in is a fake reality, where the universe was centered around him. And all of a sudden, it's like this moment, this breakthrough takes place, that there's actually someone else who's the center of the universe, and it's not me. And I have been in his place, taking his glory, living life like I could do it. When really I should be living life like if he's the Lord, he calls the shots. He tells me what to do.
So, when I say Jesus is Lord, like, I'm telling you Jesus has more power than the president, than the Supreme Court, than Congress. than the governor. I'm telling you that Jesus is the savior of America. I'm saying there is no other political authority that has power on the level of Jesus. Now, that's hard for us to believe. Because it really seems like our governing authorities are determining things. Maybe they're determining things that we don't even like that we don't agree with. What are you in Luke two? Let's go back to Luke to look at verse 1. Look at what it says here. See, this is so interesting, because in Luke 2:1, it says, “In those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be registered.” Okay, so Caesar Augustus is running this thing called the Roman Empire. Like Caesar, we understand that multiple people had the title of Caesar, but Caesar Augustus was the kind of guy that people were saying, You're the boss. And they really meant, you're the Lord. They were giving him a godlike position among men, because he, as much as it seemed to people on planet earth at that time, he had absolute authority over what happened on planet earth. And he decides, we're going to do a census, everyone go to your hometown, everyone's getting registered. And it seems like in this story, whatever Cesar says, that's what happens. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria, and all went to be registered, each to his own town. And it just so happens that this young man named Joseph from Galilee, he was from the town of Nazareth, and he went to Judea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was a descendant of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with this young lady named Mary, his betrothed, they're going to be married. They're not married yet. But it's already binding like marriage. That's what it means. And it just so happens that she's great with child that we read about in chapter 1. And she's going to have a baby right at the time that they're in Bethlehem, to fulfill all these different prophecies, all happening at one time. So, let me ask you, who was in charge of arranging all of this? Was it Caesar Augustus? Or was it actually the baby who was being born, deciding when and where he was going to be born? Who else in the history of planet earth has ever called where and when and from whom they would be born?
Caesar was never in charge of this story. And see, we get that now. We get that 2000 years later. I know some people from our church, traveling to Italy this summer. Nobody's going to Italy to worship Caesar. Nobody's going to Italy, like Caesar is God. And whatever Caesar says, goes. This is so hard for us, but what you need to understand is that all the political leaders in power right now in America, they're all here for a minute and gone tomorrow. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Like someday, America will be a memory like the Roman Empire. And we'll talk about this word president. Like we thought that guy had a lot of power. But the name that people will still think has power is Jesus.
Let's get that down. You got a couple of dashes under number three: He has authority over political leaders. He has authority over political leaders. People are thinking that different political figures are going to be the savior of America. Like if this guy just got elected, and if he just did this. Do you realize how many not just in American history but in the nations of the world, how many people yeah, there have been some good leaders at different times in different nations, and they really help that nation out. But human leaders rise and fall. Only Jesus remains as a Lord of all. That's what we need to see. We need to see that he has the power, and I love this picture. Go down to verse 12. After it says that He is the Savior, the Christ, the Lord. Hey, let me give you a sign. Let me show you. Let me show you what it's going to look like. You're going to find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. So, this is a very unusual thing. I know it's become kind of cliche for us. Like we can all see the nativity scene and we can see the wise men, and we can see the shepherds, and we got Mary and Joseph, and there's the baby in the manger. But putting a human child in a feeding trough for animals, that's a very unique thing. Right? We have some moms here who have young kids, they aren't laying their baby down in the cat litter or the dog bowl. You know what I'm saying? They ain't going to the stables, and saying, here’s where the horse eats out of, we'll just put Jr down for a nap right here. Okay. So, this is like a very interesting situation this will be assigned for you. I mean, what an amazing picture. This is what a mind-boggling idea that we're telling you. The Savior of the world, the Christ, the One, the Lord who reigned supreme over the universe, you will find the unlimited power, in a feeding trough for animals. Wow.
I mean, the humility of Jesus, the love of Jesus, the care that Jesus has to be God, and to humble himself to be born as one of us, and then placed in a place that I don't know if any of us were ever placed in, like a place that was for animals, not for human beings. And so, the shepherds, they get this message, they run over there. And look at verse 17. They go with great haste. They find Mary and Joseph; they find the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, like, look at this, the angels can tell them, this is where you're going to find him in this manger, and they run there, and they find him. They made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. So, Jesus is in the exact place that the angel says he's going to be to these shepherds. Now, what you're going to see if you go through the Gospel of Luke, if you study the story of Jesus, and the most important thing that we want to talk about is Jesus saving us from our sin, and we're going to get to that. But here's the thing: Jesus has power over every single part of your life. Can I get an Amen from anybody on it? The reason Jesus can give you such great joy is when politics aren't going the way that you would hope them to go. You know who's still really in charge, that when your physical life, your health, your wealth, what's happening in this world around you, when it's not going the way you want it to go, you know who still has the power even over your physical life, your physical body. See, that's the thing. It's not just the spiritual salvation. Our Savior, the Christ, the Lord, he put himself in a baby's body at this place, at this time. He entered into space and time, into the world that He had made. And as a man walking among us, he proved to us that he has power over physical life.
Go over to Luke chapter 5. Let me give you an example that we're going to get into here. If you want to read Luke with us. And I really hope that you will. I hope you'll read this book. If you've read it before, like you never have before. Just dig in for Jesus in every line. And if you've never read through a gospel of a story of the life, death and resurrection, a historical account like this, I really hope you'll read Luke with us. But look what happens here. In Luke chapter 5, Jesus is teaching by a lake and there's a great crowd of people who wanted to hear Jesus teach, because he taught with authority. And so, there's people trying to hear him teach. And when he finished speaking, look at verse 4. This is Luke 5:4, when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered. So, Simon is a fisherman here on the Sea of Galilee. This is the guy we're going to know as Peter. And he says, Master, we toiled all night and took nothing, but at your word, I will let down the nets. Basically, we did it all night, we got nothing, but because out of respect, we'll go out there and throw out the nets. Okay. And then verse 6, “when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.” they signal to their partners in the other boat to come and help them and they came and filled both the boats so that they began to sink. Okay, now, what is Jesus saying in this little story right here? What is he showing, without even having a quote from Jesus speaking? Does Jesus control the fish in the sea of Galilee? That is what this story is written to lead us to believe.
In fact, you can get this down for your second dash here. He has power over physical life. I'm saying that you should trust, you should put your faith you should give your life you should decide to follow Jesus, and never turn back. Not just because he will save you from your sin, but he's got more authority than the political leaders, and he's got power over your physical life. That's what I'm saying. He can make the fish jump into the nets; he can make the fish jump into the boat. And Simon Peter, he's gone on a lot of fishing, and a lot of trips on the Sea of Galilee. He has never seen anything like this. Look at verse 8. This is the moment that I was talking about, the moment when you realize who Jesus really is. And he says in Luke 5:8, “when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, oh, Lord.’” Jesus, you need to get away from me, because I am a sinner. And what does he call him right there? He's realizing in that moment that he is talking to the Creator; he is talking to the one who upholds the universe by the Word of His power. He's talking to one who can get all the fish in the sea in the boat, if that's where he wants the fish to go. And Peter realizes that with Jesus being on the boat, he's on the boat with God. And it freaks him out. Because he immediately when his eyes are open to see Jesus, and he sees Jesus as the Lord, who is over physical life. What does he then see about himself? That he's a sinner. See, so Jesus has power, he has authority over the nation's power over physical life, he's going to do many miracles. And this idea, in fact, this is the beginning of the disciples following him. Look at verse 9, “For he and all who are with him were astonished.” I mean, they are just overwhelmed that the catch of fish that they had taken. And here come other guys. We know James and John, the sons of Zebedee, these are the three closest disciples, Peter, James, and John, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, do not be afraid. From now on you will be catching men. And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. Maybe you've heard that story that Jesus goes up to Peter, and Jesus goes up to James and John, and he says, Follow me. And immediately they drop their nets and follow him. Well, now, maybe you understand more why they did that, because they saw that he was the Lord, that he controlled the fish of the sea. And they knew, hey, this is the guy we're following. He has the power; he has the authority. And Peter clearly understands that he is the one who can deal with his sin. That's the reaction that he has. So, the good news of great joy that's for all people, it'll just be a story until you realize that you are a sinner. Then it'll become the best thing that you've ever heard in your entire life. Can I get an Amen from anybody on that? Say, I love how Chris shared that with us. That he knew in his mind, somewhere, he had an idea about Jesus dying on the cross. Maybe he knew about the resurrection. Maybe he knew that Jesus did some miracles, and some teachings. But once he saw himself as someone who was a sinner before a holy God, someone who was not right with everything that God had commanded for our lives, that's when all of a sudden, whatever you heard about Jesus becomes like, I can't learn enough about Jesus. Look what Jesus says in the next story here in Luke, chapter 5. In fact, we'll jump down to verse 17. Here's another miracle that Jesus does in Luke 5, on one of those days as he was teaching the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. So, these guys are skeptics. They're there. They're checking Jesus out there against him. They'd come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. So, one of the miracles that Jesus does in many different ways, is he heals people physically, people who have real problems. And they are miraculously healed, and he's got that power. “And behold,” verse 18, “some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in” because there's so many people crammed in. Once people heard Jesus, they couldn't get enough of it. And so, they can't even fit this guy in there to lay him before Jesus. So, “finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.” So, they literally come through the roof. Maybe you've heard about this paralyzed man gets lowered down, they cut a hole in the roof to drop the guy in right in front of Jesus. Look what he says when he saw their faith. He said, Man, you are now healed. Is that what he says, everybody? What does he say, Man, you’re what? Your sins are forgiven. See, Jesus does many miracles, but the main thing Jesus came to do is save us from our sins. So, to receive the good news of Jesus, you have to confess the fact that you need the good news of Jesus. The good news is not an add-on to anybody's life. It's not just something else you can add to your life that you hope will improve, or make your life better. No, you believe in Jesus, you turn your eyes upon Jesus, because you come to see that without Jesus you are going to die in your sin, and you are going to be judged for your sin. And so, you realize you need your sin to be forgiven. And Jesus is the only one who has the authority and the power to forgive sin, because his precious blood was shed for your sin, it paid for your sin, and so he can forgive sin. He has that authority. And so, he says that to make a point, he says that to stick it in the faces of these Pharisees and the scribes. Look at Verse 21, the scribes and the Pharisees, they began to “question saying, ‘Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’” And when Jesus, who can perceive people's thoughts and knows what you're thinking in your heart, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—'I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.’ And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen extraordinary things today.’” See what he does there? He uses the fact that he has the power over physical life, to heal this man that the paralyzed man goes out of there walking and leaping and praising God, he shows, hey, I've got that power. And guess what else I've got the power to do? Forgive your sins. I want everybody here to know I'm not just making fish jump into boats, and I'm not just helping people who are laying walk, I am here, I came for everyone who's ready to admit that they have fallen short of the glory of God. And they have done things that were wrong by God and wrong by other people. Everybody who's ready to own up to their own sin, I came to forgive you for your sins. Look at what he says in this conversation that breaks out. It’s right after this in verse 27. He goes to this tax collector named Levi. Tax collectors, they were sketchy people at this time. Well, you might think they were sketchy people at other times too, but particularly here, the tax collectors were known to be sketchy because they were taking from the Jews to give to the Romans. So, it felt like they were traitors, it felt like you're taking from us to go give to those who are oppressing us. And so, the fact that he calls a tax collector to be one of his disciples, people would have thought this guy Levi, he's a sinner. He's a bad guy. “And he said to him, Follow me. And leaving everything he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house.” Levi is overjoyed to be following Jesus. And there was a large company, hey, we're having like a tax collector convention right now, right? Dinner for the IRS. Everybody, let's gather around here. “And Levi made him a great feast in his house. And there was a large company of tax collectors and others.” Who knows who those people were reclining at a table with them? And the Pharisees and the scribes who become like the naysayers, the commenters here, they grumble that his disciples are saying, “’Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors’.” And what are we calling these people? See these are bad characters. See, why are we sharing testimonies of people in prisons? Why is Jesus over there with tax collectors and sinners? People who are bad people who are not right. Why is Jesus hanging out with them? And see, Jesus, I love how he already knows the questions. He already knows what's on your heart. Jesus answered them. “’Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’” See, I can tell you very clearly, and I was not a tax collector, I was not a criminal. I was just a kid going to church. I was just a kid whose dad read me the Bible. And I heard people talking about Jesus at my church. And when I realized that I deserved to die, that I deserved judgment. And then I was not right with God, that's when Jesus on that cross was good news of great joy for me. And I want to know, when was the day that you stop trying to be healthy, you stop trying to be wealthy, you stop trying to have it all together, you stop trying to control life, and you basically admitted, I'm one of the bad guys. I'm one of the sinners. I love how Chris said that. Because it's so hard for people to say that these days. Out of all my problems, biggest problem I've got is me. See, that's when you want to hear, and he will tell you that he's bringing you good news of great joy for all people, whether you would consider yourself the worst of sinners, or whether you would consider yourself one of the good people. The day that you can see yourself as a sinner and you turn to Jesus, you call on the Lord of all, you decide I'm going to fall, I'm going to drop my nets, I'm going to drop what I'm doing with my life, whether I'm tax collecting, a fisherman, whatever it is, you're doing, however it is you’re living, and you're saying, I'm going to go and I'm going to follow Jesus. And I'm going to now seek him. See, that's what Jesus is saying. I didn't come for the people who don't think they need help. I came for those who know that they need way more than help. They are a sinner who needs a Savior, who needs the Christ, who needs the Lord.
Go over to Luke 15. I can't wait till we get to Luke chapter 15. Because he keeps giving him a hard time because he's hanging out with the sinners and the tax collectors. And then all the sinners are coming to Jesus, but the religious people, the self-righteous people, the “good guys,” see, they're making fun of Jesus because he's got all of these criminals, tax collectors and these people that they would consider bad are all coming to Jesus. They're all drawing near to him. They're all repenting and turning to him. And so here in Luke 15, Jesus tells not one, not two, but three different stories of repentance, three different stories of what it looks like for a sinner to admit who they are, and to turn from their sin and find life, find a Savior. And he keeps saying this in these stories. Look at Luke 15:7, it says, “Just so I tell you, there will be more joy,” you want to talk about mega joy, “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Look at verse 10. At the end of the second story, he says it like this, ”Just so I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Because it's not just the joy that you will feel when you turn from your sin and trust in Jesus, it's saying that there is a celebration among God and the angels. There is great rejoicing. There is some kind of heavenly party that breaks out when somebody down here admits, I am a sinner and I need a Savior. And I'm putting my trust in Jesus. All of Heaven rejoices with a mega joy when one sinner down here repents. I'm saying that when people hear at this little church in Huntington Beach, when one person stands up and says, I'm a sinner, and I need Jesus to save me, we might cheer. We might clap when you get baptized. There might be a few of us who rejoice. I'm telling you when there's that breakthrough, and you can see yourself for who you really are in the light of who Jesus really is. And you realize I'm a sinner in desperate need of a savior, and I know his name, and you call on Him to save you. I'm here to tell you that your Father in heaven and all of the angels who are looking at Him on His throne in heaven, there is some kind of singing, some kind of bursting forth of joy that takes place in heaven over just one sinner who repents down here on earth. This is the point of life that God sent His Son, Jesus, the Savior, the Christ, the Lord. So, you would agree with God and confess I am a sinner, and I need your son Jesus to save me. He is the only one who can save me, and He is my Lord. And when you say that heaven rejoices.
The most famous story of a sinner repenting is the parable of the prodigal son, who and look what he says in verse 18. He says, “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned,’” I'm going to go own it. I took my dad's inheritance and I, when I took life, and I went and spent it on myself, I did whatever I wanted, well, I'm going to go to go tell my dad, I was wrong. I'm going to go say that I was a sinner. “And he arose,” verse 20, “and he came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran.” See, this is something unheard of, you don't see old men running through town towards their wayward sons. You don't see old men in the Jewish culture among that community, just picking up their long robes. Here's an old man picking up his robe and running to greet his son who basically wished he was dead, took his inheritance and squandered it on his sin. And here he is running towards his son, and he “embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe and put him on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”
That's just a little picture of what happens in heaven every time one sinner repents. The love of our Father in heaven, who's ready to embrace you, and welcome you, if you will just agree with him that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. See, this is why it doesn't always feel good. The moment that you realize who Jesus really is, that he's the savior, the Christ, the Lord, because it's also the moment that you may, for the first time in life, really see yourself, that I'm the bad guy, Jesus came to die for that. I'm the one who needed to be saved. And when you can go, and it seems like to you the end, it seems like to you the worst, like I deserve to die, I deserve to be judged, like if I died right now, because of the things that I have done, because of what I've said, and thought, because of the way that I've acted. If God wanted to judge me, you're like, He would be right to do so. And in this moment, you feel like death, you feel like I'm a sinner, I'm guilty, like Jesus’ blood had to be shed because of me. I'm the reason Jesus died. And it's right at that terrible moment of self-realization, is the greatest moment of heavenly revelation, when you realize that you are the sinner. Jesus came to save. And you feel like you're going to hell, and that's the moment you realize, you're going to go to heaven. And you're going to seek God. And you're going to see the one who is the Savior, the Christ, the Lord.
Now, one of the things we got to make clear is, it doesn't have to be this powerful, emotional moment. It's not about like, some people might be able to tell you on this day, at this time, I said to God, I'm a sinner. Some of us… it might have happened like that some of us might have a specific place and time. Or we can have a picture of how we got baptized. This is how it happened. Some of us it may not be that clear that there was this like, epic moment where I said, I'm a sinner, and I saw the flames of hell and God reached down and he pulled me up. But I'm asking you, has there been a time where you identified as the sinner, and you've admitted to God that you need a Savior. I mean, usually when people have repented, when God has turned their life around, when they've decided to follow Jesus, and they've turned their eyes of faith upon him, like they might not be able to tell you where it was at what was July 6, 2022 when I went to that all-American hot dog dinner, and it took a long time to get to the hot dogs. It was right there. And I went, No, you may not have a moment like that, but usually, when people have repented, they can say, well, it was at this time I started to see the sin in my life. It was in this summer that God began to change my life. It was at this point, Amen, that I went from thinking I was a good person to thinking that Jesus needed to do a work in me. And I'm asking you, when did you say you were a sinner? Because the angels, they came from heaven. And they said, they had good news of great joy for you. And they said, it's him. He's the Savior, the Christ, the Lord. And you need to not just agree with who Jesus is, you need to agree with who Jesus says you are. Jesus didn't come to save anybody here who's righteous. But he came to save all of us here, who are sinners. And we're ready to say that to him. See, everybody's got a testimony, whether you were a criminal, or whether you were a church kid, we all end up saying, Jesus, will you please save me? Because I know you can forgive sins. And I really need you to. So, we have a chance for you tonight to identify as a sinner, if you don't have that time already in your life. We would love tonight to be that night. And we've got people ready to talk to you. So, we're going to have the worship team come up right now; we're going to do a couple of songs. For everybody here, you've already confessed that you're a sinner, you've already cried out to Jesus to save you. This is a chance for you to worship Jesus right now as your Savior, as the Christ, as the Lord.
If you want to talk to somebody about being a sinner, and Jesus being your savior, okay, we've got this group there called Compass Connect, and they're ready to talk to you, if you go out the back to the right, and you can even go during the songs if you want to go and talk to somebody, if you want to talk to someone, and the main person you need to talk to is Jesus himself. You need to call on his name. And you need to acknowledge your great need for him. And so, we're going to give you a chance to do that while we sing these songs right now. So let me pray for us:
Father in heaven, we thank you that you have this church right now reading this Gospel of Luke, an orderly account that we would know with certainty that you are the God of heaven. And you did send us a message here on Earth. And it's that unto us has been born a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord. And this is such good news. This will fill our souls with such great joy if we can agree that we are the sinner who needs to be saved. So, Father, I pray for all of us, who have seen that you opened our eyes to see our sin. And I can just remember how heavy that felt. I can remember what a burden that was. I can remember what it felt like to feel the weight of my sin upon me, like I knew I was going to have to pay for what I had done. I knew there was a place even called hell. And I was afraid that I was going to go there. And it was in that moment of great fear that I experienced such great joy. Because I saw Jesus bleeding out on a tree to pay for all my sins. And he rose from the grave, and I know that he's at your right hand. And I knew that it was good news in that moment. And I knew the joy in my soul. God, I thank you on behalf of all of us that have decided to follow Jesus. And I pray that we will know the joy set before us, turn back and continue to follow Jesus all of our days. Because where else could we go for salvation? Where? Who? There's no one else who's the one, there's no one else who has the power over physical life and the authority to forgive our sins. So, I pray for my brothers and sisters that you will encourage them in their faith. And I pray for all of those who are here among us, for all of those who are watching this online, and they've never confessed that they're a sinner. And they've had their eyes open to see the Savior. I pray that tonight, they would turn their eyes upon Jesus, and that they would be saved. So, Father, please will you run, will you embrace the sinners? And will you save them here tonight, so that not only can we rejoice, but that you and all the angels could have a glorious celebration? Because tonight would be a night that a sinner repents. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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