Summary: This message deals with the source of stumbling-blocks and the sight of God in dealing with the source.
We Need to Talk! As I stand cradled within the sanctuary of these four walls, I wanted to high light this headline during this period of proclamation. We need to discuss — “How Jesus Views Instigators Of Sin.”
The Text I have tagged and targeted for teaching is Luke 17:1-2 (read).
In1:1, Luke titles his account of the Gospel concerning Jesus Christ as “a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us.” I like to think of Luke’s Gospel Narrative as “A Declaration of Settled Beliefs.” For the facts of Jesus’ miraculous and immaculate conception and birth, His ministry as Messiah as evidenced by His authoritative words and mighty deeds of power, His substitutionary death on the Cross, and His burial, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God the Father, Luke says that these are Settled, Irrefutable Beliefs among the Servant-Saints of the Savior: in spite of apostasy, splits and heresy, these beliefs have remained constant and clear thru two millennia up to this present day. They have out-lasted the prancing horses and militaristic empire of Rome. They have outlasted the icy beauty and architectural splendor of Greece. Outlasted the goose-stepping, Nazi regime of Hitler’s Germany. Outlasted the communistic, militarist union of the Soviet Union. And they shall outlast the capitalistic democracy of America. The faith that was once delivered to the saints is A Declaration of Settled Beliefs.
In Acts 1:1, Luke views the Gospel as “all that Jesus began both To Do and Teach.” The Good News is both Jesus’ Doings and Doctrine, His Acts and Assertions, His Works and Words, His Service and Sayings. I think we do well to remember that, for some of us divorce His Works from His Words, while others of us focus on His Words to the exclusion of His Works. But the Gospel is “all that Jesus began both to do and teach.”
So, in this declaration of settled beliefs, Luke not only high lights The Doings of Jesus, he also underscores the Sayings of the Savior. And in our Target Text (17:1-2), we are confronted by the Sayings of Jesus; for in verse 1 Luke writes, “Then said He unto the disciples.”
Now, as far as I am concerned, these Sayings of Jesus have to do with His Ebonics rather than with His Phonics or Phonetics. Meaning, What He Says rather than with How He Says It; with the Substance and Meaning of His Statements and not with the Form and Pronunciation of His Words; with Content rather than with Construct. It is His Ebonics, His Content that is important.
The reason I am stressing Ebonics is because, in our move to be assimilated into this American culture, many of us have mastered, to a great extent, the construct, form and structure of the King’s English, yet we lack substance in our conversation. But Grandma was short on syntax, isagogics and style but long on getting over what she was saying. Communicating, conversation is basically making one’s self clear, divulging substance and meaning. If once you get close to God, you’ll become concerned with Ebonics rather than with Phonics.
Now you must understand that these Ebonics or Sayings of Jesus are not Suggestions or Proposals or Recommendations or Hints or Opinions or Theories, Hunches or even Wishes. No, no! In John 7:16-17 Jesus says, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of Myself.” In John 12:49 Jesus says, For I have not spoken of Myself; but My Father which hath sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” And then in John 5:30 Jesus says, “I can of Mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge.” These, then, are not suggestions or personal opinions nor educated guesses. In these Sayings, Jesus discloses the mind and will of God the Father as it relates to a right relationship with Him in regards to salvation and the kingdom. These, then, are Declarations or Statements detailing how human beings are to relate to the rule and reign and reach and righteousness of God as Lord and Savior.
The content of these Sayings of Jesus are housed in various constructs. They take the form of Parables, Sermons, Lectures and just Casual Conversation. And these Sayings are addressed to various persons or groups of people. For instance, in this 17th chapter of Luke, Jesus addresses His Saying to Three different groups of individuals. Beginning at verse 11 and ending with verse 14, we have the Sayings of Jesus to a Casual Conglomeration of Contemporary Folk in the person of Ten Disenfranchised Lepers. In verses 20 & 21, we have the Sayings of the Savior to a Snide and Stuck-Up Sect known as the Pharisees. And in verses 1-10, we have the Sayings of the Savior to His Selected Servants on the subjects of Sin, Faith and Duty.