Summary: We can only understand His mercy within the context of all that He has spoken to us in the Scriptures. Be on your guard for those who misuse the message of God’s love and mercy for their own ends.
Christianity in Context, Part-1, Luke 4:4
Have you ever been misquoted or had your words taken so far out of context that by the time you heard what someone said you said it isn’t what you said at all? As a Pastor I know that words are powerful.
As I was doing some research for this sermon I found a list of Church bulletin bloopers that someone collected and put together in one place:
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.
Evening massage - 6 p.m.
The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.
This morning the third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment.
The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.
The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth Into Joy."
During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.
Hymn 47: "Hark! an awful voice is sounding"
Potluck supper: prayer and medication to follow.
Don’t let worry kill you off - let the church help.
This morning I want to talk to you about context. In the context of a Sunday morning church bulletin those typo’s really changed the message that the church had hoped to communicate to its members and guests.
Context is defined as, “discourse that surrounds a language unit and helps to determine its interpretation.” In other words, context is the big picture.
Luke 4:4 says, “And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” (ESV)
It is my prayer that you will leave this place this morning a little more aware of the importance of understanding God within the context of His written rather than within the context of personal opinion.
God in Context
In the Bible the phrase, “The Lord Spoke,” appears At least 106 times. It is only possible to understand what The Lord said as we listen to His words within the overall context of all that He has revealed to us about His nature.
There are many, however, who have taken God very far out of the context of all that He has spoken. There are many people in our day that prefer a God who is angry and wrathful and full of vengeance.
In order to justify their own anger and wrath and vengeance they take God very far out of context and twist His word of mercy into a word of judgment. They take a passage of Scripture that speaks about God’s judgment and make it central to their understanding of God.
They ignore the overall message of God’s love and mercy that runs like a river right through the center of the Scriptures. While the Bible does record events of God’s anger being kindled against disobedience, those instances can only be properly understood as they are considered within the overall context of the Scriptures.
Let me put it this way; if a loving and gracious parent becomes very angry at a child for disobedience and in their anger raises their voice at the child, does this mean that they are no longer a loving parent?
Of course that doesn’t mean that they are no longer a loving parent! In the moment that the parent corrected the child their anger was, in fact, an extension of their love. If they raised their voice and told the child not to run in the street, they only did so out love because they didn’t want their child to get hurt and suffer pain.
So it is with God. While He does dislike selfishness and sin, His primary attribute is love. Within the context of all that He has spoken to us, we can rest assured that God loves us, forgives us, and extends His mercy to us.
We see God being taken out of context at seemingly every turn. Just the other night I was watching the news as I listened to a particular political candidate as he spoke as though he were the only godly candidate running for office.
There is a political mood which permeates many churches in our country. Some pastors and churches go so far as to suggest and even insist that if you don’t vote a certain way or hold a certain political position then you are not a genuine Christian.
I would caution you to beware of those who take God out of context in order to use His words for their own ends, whatever those ends may be.