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Aug 22 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

August 21, 2022



Welcome and Prayer: Nancy Lopez

Good morning, welcome.            May the Lord Jesus be with you!

I think that we are all feeling a bit de-stabilized in this world right now.  Our faith traditions, our politics, our safety, our climate, our health, our economy—there’s so much going on that might bring to awareness our lack of control, and that tends to create anxiety.  It is only natural that we might be looking for relief, looking for someone to save us, or a way that we could save ourselves.  These de-stabilizing ways are ways that might break us or lead us on a track of attempting control– or they might facilitate wisdom, they might remind us of that “one thing we ask and that is what we seek.” 

We will not be overwhelmed if we return to the Beloved, to the One who is worthy of all blessing and honor and glory. What we do matters, our dialog in the world matters, our self-awareness matters, our physical and emotional health matter.  And we remember Jesus, who matters most; we place our trust in Jesus.  More and More.  Again and Again.  When we present ourselves to Him, we remember that He alone is worthy of all blessing and honor and glory.

Before we went live this morning, our in-person community listened to a song written and performed by Andrew Peterson entitled “Is He Worthy?”  I invite you to look for it and listen too.

Join me to pray, will you:

The world is broken, the shadows deepen, but all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through.  Your creation is groaning, Lord Jesus.  Thank you for being the Author and Finisher of our faith.  Thank you for giving us Your kingdom, Your Spirit, and for making us to be priests to stand the gap until you come to bring Your Glory, Your Peace, Your Shalom in fullness. Amen

Morning Talk: chuck smith, jr.

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, event the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and overall the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20

Intro: In any series of talks I give it’s helpful to have a reminder

We are following Jesus through Luke’s gospel learning prayer,
– by listening to Jesus and by watching him
• I sometimes forget the absolute necessity of prayer
◦ when that happens, I treat prayer like it’s optional
• many people think prayer is asking God for things,
◦ and if they don’t get what they want,
◦ they decide it doesn’t make any difference if they pray
– that’s like a married couple who consider communication to be unimportant
• prayer is the hub of our relationship with God
◦ it’s what holds it together – how we stay connected
• prayer is the breath of our spirit – without it, the spirit dies

Today’s talk may sound like I’m backing off from what I said last week

I’m not – if Evangelicals have become confused about evangelism,
– it doesn’t mean that we’re not supposed to evangelize
. . . you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way (1 Pe. 3:15-17, NLT)
• most of this chapter in Luke is about doing the work of Jesus
• he makes us his partners in doing his work in the world
◦ it matters that we do it right – which means, we do it his way: love, truth, goodness, and beauty
◦ Paul explains his “evangelism strategy” in very clear terms:
To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. . . .To those outside the law I became as one outside the law . . . that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some (1 Cor. 9:19-23)

Let’s dive into the story

These disciples are the seventy-two we read about last week
– they’ve returned from their mission, and as Luke says, “with joy”
• joy is the dominant emotional theme in this passage
• it is related to the word rejoice (which appears three times)
– think of what we would like to see happen in the world
• what would excite us? what would bring us joy?
• if we saw the forces of evil weakened and diminished
◦ oppressive governments and institutions collapse, human lives redeemed and liberated
◦ an end to war and the threat of war
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire (Ps. 46:9)
. . . and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore (Isa. 2:4)
◦ addiction and alcoholism would decrease
◦ there would be no more hate crimes or mass shootings
◦ no family would live under shadow of domestic violence

Jesus had a vision of Satan’s power being broken
– he also saw the future successes of his team
• for seventeen hundred years,
◦ Christians had a positive influence in western societies
• if we’re experiencing some slippage now,
◦ it’s because we’ve become distracted
◦ we are less attached to the teaching of Jesus and more involved in politics
– in spite of Jesus’ vision of their victory over “the enemy,”
• that was not where Jesus wanted disciples to find their joy
◦ he did not want them oriented to evil or their battle against it
• the project of many Christians today is defined by what they’re against
◦ looking for dark says, or the Antichrist of the end times,
◦ or praying at the devil – “Satan, we bind you in the name of Jesus”
(why do you want to talk to him?!)

Another theme in these verses is the word “name”
– it was in Jesus’ name that demons were subdued
• this is a resource we all need to remember (with my own demons)
The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous . . . runs into it and is safe (Pr. 18:10)
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Php. 2:9-11)
– Jesus informs them that their names are written in heaven
• that’s the direction Jesus wanted the disciples to be looking
◦ and also written in heaven were the names of everyone they influenced for Jesus
• they’d been in cities and villages doing for others what Jesus had done for them
◦ whenever we affect someone in positive way in name of Jesus, it brings us joy
◦ our spiritual joy is a specific kind of energy, refreshment, renewal

Luke moves from disciples’ joy to Jesus’ rejoicing
In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him (Luke 10:21-22)

Luke uses an odd expression, he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit
– why not, “he rejoiced in his own spirit?” or “with all of his heart?”
• it could mean, he rejoiced in what the Holy Spirit had done with the disciples
• but there’s another possible meaning, and one we must learn
– there’s a form–or state–of prayer that doesn’t come from our minds
• it doesn’t come from our hearts either–though it moves in our hearts
. . . the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. . . the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Ro. 8:26-27)
◦ God’s Spirit prays through our spirit
◦ sometimes this is a wordless prayer
What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also . . . . (1 Cor. 14:15)
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints (Ep. 6:18)
But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God (Jude 1:20-21)
• we can pray this way any time and anywhere
“Lord, I don’t know what to pray. Have Your Spirit pray through me”
• prayer is our deepest spiritual experience
◦ in a sense, all our prayers can be in the Holy Spirit

What brings Jesus joy? The way his Father works with people
– I expect highly intelligent people to be able to guide me
• my automatic response is to turn to the experts
• but being well educated is not same as being enlightened
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the elders,
for I keep your precepts (Ps. 119:99-100)
◦ though Paul was well-educated himself, he celebrated God’s upside-down ordering of enlightenment
For consider your calling brothers [and sisters]: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, nor many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong . . . so that no human being might boast in the presence of God (1 Cor. 1:26-29)
◦ Arthur Deikman described our “ordinary way of knowing”
(the natural way we learned as children, by observation and making associations – then the way we practiced in school, and the way of science and philosophy)
Arthur Deikman, “But a different experience of knowing is also possible.”
(his term for mystical knowing was “intuition,” but there is also revelation)
– Jesus finds joy in watching God’s gracious will at work in our lives
• in this instance, God’s “good idea” was the revelation the disciples received,
◦ that even the demons had to give way to Jesus’ name
Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!”
◦ God’s power at work through Jesus and his representatives
• in chapter 15, Jesus will tell three stories; all with same theme:
I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Lk. 15:11)
◦ Jesus thanked God for the spiritual progress of his followers
◦ and how God used them to change the lives of others

Conclusion: I want to encourage you this morning

Recognize what God has give you – the unique way he uses you
– as Jesus said in verse 22, he is still choosing to reveal God to people
• you have a role in how Jesus reaches them
◦ you don’t have to preach, or pitch, or push anything down anyone’s throat
◦ you simply use what seems like your natural aptitude
• thumbing through a meditation journal I kept eighteen years ago, I came across something I wrote to myself
◦ I felt a strong impression that this is what Jesus was saying to me at that time:
“Chuck, continue to resist Evangelical “religion,” culture, and dogma. Do not capitulate to Pharisaic faith. Stand your ground. You have not seen the success you’ve desired to achieve in reaching people outside of church who remain untouched by the gospel. But you may be preparing young men and women who will see that success. Continue to encourage and validate them, and show them the way out of religion and into the life and ministry of Jesus.”
That sounds like a Mission Statement
Get to know God’s Mission Statement for you – and live it

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