Summary: Part 1 of a 2 part Expository Sermon on Luke 12:49-13:9 concerning the Judgement of God and repentance. Message #62 from Luke series.

Luke Series # 62 April 14,2002

Introduction: Welcome to New Life in Christ. We are currently going through the Gospel of Luke verse by verse. As I mentioned last week, one advantage of this approach is that we are unable to avoid unpleasant, unpopular or difficult passages and topics of Scripture. After all, we desperately need to listen to everything God says to us. Today’s Scripture passage in Luke Chapter 12 and 13 is one of those passages we would sometimes rather avoid. In this section of the Bible, Jesus has some very strong words and warnings for us. These words and their message may not "tickle your ears" but they can change your heart. I’ve entitled this message "The Message Nobody Wants To Hear." While very few people may want to hear this message that does not mean it is a message no one needs to hear.

Read Luke 12:49-13:9

Opening Prayer

At first glance these passages can seem rather cryptic and unrelated to each other, but a closer look reveals that they all have one common theme: Judgment. The reference to "fire on earth" in verse 49 is a clear reference to judgment. The parable involving the adversary and magistrate revolves around getting things straight before the judgment of God comes and the reference to the tragedies in Chapter 13 along with the final parable in which there’s a threat to "cut down" the fig tree are also fairly clear references to God’s judgment.

Now "judgment" refers to God’s punishment of sinners for wrongdoing (lying, cheating on taxes, unfaithfulness to your spouse, embezzlement, sexual impurity, etc.) Most people would rather not hear about judgment. They would rather hear about God’s love, forgiveness, etc. The popular conception of Jesus and God is not one that entails punishment. Nevertheless the Judgment of God is clearly taught in the Bible and people need to hear warnings about God’s Judgment today just as much as they did 2,000 years ago. To quote William Barclay, "However much we may wish to eliminate the element of judgment from the message of Jesus it remains stubbornly and unalterably there” (The Gospel of Luke {Westminster Press}, p.169).

While some may look at these passages on judgment negatively, I see these Bible passages positively because they are the result of God’s loving warnings. God warns us or tells us of judgment so that we can avoid it!

Illustration: In our society hurricane warnings, warnings from the Surgeon General, or safety warnings on medicines are not considered negative but positive because of their purpose, which is to prevent tragedy. In the same sense, God’s warnings should be seen as positive because their purpose is to prevent spiritual tragedies.

In this passage Jesus tells us primarily two things about judgment.

I. You need to recognize that judgment is coming. Vs. 12:49-56

II. You need to repent because judgment is coming. Vs. 12:57-13:9

The first thing Jesus speaks of is the reality of judgment. The day when God will punish every wicked evil thing is not going to be avoided. It is a reality that we need to fully accept and recognize if we are to be prepared. It is like with the hurricane warnings here in Florida; people do not usually pay attention or prepare until they realize the severity of the storm and accept the reality that it will hit the coast. In the same way people often ignore warnings about God’s Judgment until they recognize the reality and the severity of it.

I. You need to recognize that judgment is coming. Vs. 12:49-56

Read Verse 49

“I have come to bring fire on the earth...” Fire in the Bible is a symbol for many things including God’s Presence and Righteousness, but it is most often a symbol for judgment. The context prior to verse 49 and after it made clear that Jesus is referring to judgment when he uses the word "fire." Jesus is bringing and will bring the Judgment of God. That judgment is like a fire, which is nothing to play around with or to ignore. The Judgment is a very serious thing so we need to recognize that it is going to come. The point of this warning about the certainty of God’s Judgment is so that we all will listen closely to what Jesus says later this passage about being prepared for the coming judgment and how to survive and prosper despite it.

Illustration: I recently watched the news documentary television show “Dateline NBC.” This episode was a story about a large Jumbo Jet that left the United States on a trip Europe. Three quarters of the way across the Atlantic Ocean the plane ran out of fuel, so in essence this Jumbo Jet was gliding, and it was only a matter of 15 to 30 minutes before the plane hit the earth. The people on that plane knew or recognized that disaster was going to come! They then listened carefully and responsively to the crew’s warnings and instructions. One comment from passengers that caught my attention was how careful they were to listen to the stewardess’s instructions about the life vest and the exits now even though they had ignored the same preflight instructions on the same manner. They listened and responded because what had been thought of only as a remote possibility before now was recognized as a reality.

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