Read Luke 4:14-21
Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit's power. Soon he became well known throughout the surrounding country. 15He taught in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. 16When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17The scroll containing the messages of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him, and he unrolled the scroll to the place where it says:
18     "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
        for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim
        that captives will be released,
        that the blind will see,
        that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors,
19         and that the time of the Lord's favor has come.
20He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. Everyone in the synagogue stared at him intently. 21Then he said, "This Scripture has come true today before your very eyes!"

The Heart of Jesus – Jesus has opened his heart to us. Shown us his passion ...

  1. The Spirit of the Lord Upon Him
    1. Preaching and Proclaiming – Word and Action are one & same – He speaks with authority – What he says is what he does.
    2. The Kingdom Conquering a Broken World – Jesus’ ministry is all gospel and it involves ...
      1. Casting out evil (Luke 4:31-37) – The end of evil’s power is being proclaimed
      2. Healing (Luke 4:38-41) – The curse upon humanity is being lifted
      3. Preaching (Luke 4:42-44) – The love of God and the call to a new way of life
  2. The Gospel is not just saying and hearing – it is also being and doing
    1. Ministry is not just bait on the gospel hook – it is the visible sign of the good news of the rule of God
    2. We have wonderful ministries at West-Ark that demonstrate how the proclamation of the gospel is both word and action ...
      1. Guyana Medical Missions – the treatment of broken bodies and souls are both works of gospel proclamation. The gospel is not a hook we have to bait with free medicine. That sort of approach leads to an evangelistic bait and switch. Jesus demonstrates to us that every healing touch can be a proclamation of the good news.
      2. Community Outreach Day
        Tell those in need about it.
        Everyone welcome!
        West-Ark Church of Christ Family Life Center
        Saturday, January 31, 2004, 9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
        All clothing and household items are FREE!!
      3. Community Outreach Day – Why do we do this? To "lure" people in? No, because we are transformed by the good news of the kingdom breaking in. We use our resources in a "gospel-ed" way. We believe the kingdom establishes a new order and rule over the way we do things and over the way we own things. The Spirit of our Lord is upon us and we use our resources for kingdom purposes ...
    3. The Gospel transforms reality because the Kingdom is breaking in ...
      1. Jesus is more than just the Master teacher, he is the living embodiment of the truth he proclaims
      2. And he calls on his disciples to be the same thing ...

If you want to really know Jesus and do what he does then our belief and action are one in the same; they are turned inside out ...

Turning Inside Out – Read Luke 4:22-30
22All who were there spoke well of him and were amazed by the gracious words that fell from his lips. "How can this be?" they asked. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" 23Then he said, "Probably you will quote me that proverb, `Physician, heal yourself'--meaning, `Why don't you do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum?' 24But the truth is, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown. 25"Certainly there were many widows in Israel who needed help in Elijah's time, when there was no rain for three and a half years and hunger stalked the land. 26Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a widow of Zarephath--a foreigner in the land of Sidon. 27Or think of the prophet Elisha, who healed Naaman, a Syrian, rather than the many lepers in Israel who needed help." 28When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. 29Jumping up, they mobbed him and took him to the edge of the hill on which the city was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, 30but he slipped away through the crowd and left them.

The Heart of Jesus in Us –

  1. We cannot hoard the blessings of the gospel or limit access to them.
    1. Where do you find Jesus? Among the people we sometimes want to forget about.
    2. Knowing Jesus means doing what he does and caring about the things he cares about.
  2. The Weightier Matters of the Law (Matthew 23)
    1. The things that really matter to Jesus, are not just his pet projects - they must shape what we do, even when it is difficult or risky. ...
    2. The theme of the 1960 ACU lectures was "Christian Faith in the Modern World." One of the speakers was a professor of Bible at ACU, Dr. Carl Spain. Spain was a soft-spoken and humble man. His lecture had the rather innocuous title, "MODERN CHALLENGES TO CHRISTIAN MORALS."
    3. Spain noted how philosophies such as naturalism and the origin of species informed the politics of Nazism and Communism, but then he brought the message home and pointed out that segregationist attitudes in the church are no better ...
    4. And then Spain challenged ACU to change it’s official policy of not admitting African-American students ...
    5. " ... I feel certain Jesus would say: ‘Ye hypocrites! You say you are the only true Christians, and make up the only true church, and have the only Christian schools. Yet, you drive out one of your own preachers [from your school] because the color of his skin is dark!" "We fear the mythical character named Jim Crow more than we reverence Jesus Christ."
  3. The cynical or critical might say that this is so much political correctness by a liberal college professor. Recall however that this is 1960, in Texas. This is three years before Martin Luther King’s march on Washington and four years before the Civil Rights Act was signed into law.
    1. Could it be that disciples of Jesus who share his heart’s passion for the kingdom of God do in fact believe as he does in the weightier matters of the law – and they will do what he does to proclaim and live out kingdom justice, mercy and righteousness – And could it be that this in fact might make a difference?
      1. [One year after Spain’s speech. ACU changed its policy and admitted African-American students]
  4. If you want to really know Jesus and do what he does then inside turns out ...
    1. Come into my heart Lord Jesus! Jesus will turn us inside out by asking, do you have room for my little ones?
    2. It is better to turn inside out with the heart of spirit of Jesus filling us, than to decay from the inside out like the hypocritical Pharisees. The good news of the kingdom proclaims help and healing from the Lord to those who will turn to him.

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 18 January 2004

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