Sermon – November 26, 2017: “No Such Thing as Riding the Fence”

Luke 11:14-36

Parallel Account

Matthew 12:22-43

Mark 3:20-30

Each Gospel places this event in a different chronological context. Most likely takes place during Jesus’ ministry in Judea.

Luke’s reason for recording

  • To show the final rejection of Jesus by Israel’s leadership.
  • To signify a change in Jesus’ ministry. Miracles are no longer performed as a sign, but they will be performed in conjunction with faith.
  • It is by faith that we are saved.

Historical Background

  • First century Jews had developed a sort of Messianic test based on Isaiah 35:5-7.
  • The Messiah was expected to perform three types of miracles that would be exclusive to him.
    • Heal lepers
    • Exorcise mute demons
    • Heal people who were blind from birth
    • A fourth was implied by Jesus: Raising a person from the dead after three days.
  • In order to confirm or deny Messiahship a two-part investigation had been developed.
    • An observation period
    • An interrogation period
  • Today’s passage marks the end of the investigation and a pronouncement.

The exorcism and accusation (vv 14-16)

  • This was an exceptional exorcism as it had the people marveling and asking if this man was the Messiah. (Matt 12:23)
  • This in turn caused the Jewish leadership to pronounce judgment: This man is not the Messiah but an agent of the Enemy.

Jesus’ response (vv 17-23)

  • How can a kingdom be divided against itself?
  • Let the Pharisees’ own disciples be judge for they know that a demon can only be cast out by God alone.
  • By their own test, Jesus’ exorcism proved he was the Messiah.
  • Jesus’ parable of the Strongman
    • The strong man is Satan who has had control over the world.
    • Jesus now presents true opposition, and defeat, to Satan.
    • Therefore a choice has to be made: Either follow Jesus or continue to follow Satan.

Parable of the Unclean Spirit (vv 24-26)

  • The parable is a warning.
  • God began the preparation for the Messiah through John the Baptizer’s ministry.
  • The call for repentance was a call for people to change there minds so that they would be prepared to receive the Messiah.
  • However, Jewish leadership would sway many of these people who had repented and they would eventually be worse off than they had started.

The woman’s exclamation (vv 27-28)

  • Many liked to hear Jesus, unfortunately many were unwilling to accept Jesus.
  • Jesus uses the exclamation to drive home a point: the blessed are those who hear God’s word and keep it!
  • The obvious application is the acceptance of God’s Messiah.

The need for a sign (vv 29-32)

  • Some were riding the fence unwilling to deny Jesus’ Messiahship and yet unwilling to accept it either.
  • Jesus had provided enough signs including two of the three Messianic miracles, and he would provide no more except the sign of the resurrection.

The Parable of the Lamp (vv 33-36)

  • Despite the fact that the Jewish leadership had rejected Jesus he still appeals to the Jewish people to receive him.
  • Everyone has the freedom to choose to believe the truth even when there is influence not to.

Application

  • There is more than enough evidence to take the leap of faith and receive Jesus as Savior and live trusting him as Lord.
  • One cannot ride the proverbial fence hoping to be excused on judgment day: you either choose to follow Jesus or you choose to follow the Enemy.
  • You are free to make the decision, despite the opposition of worldly influence, to receive Jesus and follow him.
  • We followers are the evidence of Jesus: We can either be a window or we can be a shade by how we “hear the word of God and keep it.”

Transformation Expectation

  • Continue to choose to move from “agnosticism” to full faith and commitment.
  • Be secure in your salvation: The question is not “Am I saved?” but “What should I do now that I am saved?”
  • Live in obedience and faith.

 

 

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