Monday, August 5, 2019

2019.08.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 20:16-19

Questions for Littles: What will the owner of the vineyard do to the vinedressers (Luke 20:16)? What will He do with the vineyard? What did Jesus’s hearers say to this? What is the first thing that Luke 20:17 says Jesus did to them? What did He then ask them about? What had the builders in the OT quote rejected? What did the rejected stone become? What will some do to that stone (Luke 20:18a)? What will happen to them? What will the stone do to some people (verse 18b)? What will happen to them? Whose desire does Luke 20:19 describe? What did they desire to do? When? Why did they desire to do this? Why didn’t they carry out their desire?
What if the way the Lord decides to do things in His church is not the way that we would like? This was the problem for the chief priests and scribes, and I dare say that it is sometimes a problem for us. But they were just the tenants, while the vineyard belongs to God. They were just the builders, while the building belongs to God. We are members, but the body belongs to God.

Of course, the bigger problem is when we decide to go ahead and try to do things as we prefer instead. Ultimately, this led to the rejection (and even abuse and murder) of many of God’s prophets—climaxing in the murder of Christ Himself.

But rejecting God’s way never works. All of the abuse that Jeremiah took couldn’t keep the exile from coming. And all of the abuse and murder that the prophets (and ultimately Christ) took only resulted in God’s taking His church away from national Israel and giving it to the nations instead. They could reject Christ; but they would only succeed in their own rejection, because Christ would be the Chief Cornerstone whether they desired it or not.

There’s far too much power struggle in churches—as if any man made agenda at all can ever succeed. But if we attempt to get our own way, rather than gladly pursuing and submitting to what Scripture instructs, Luke 20:18 warns us that we are waging a double-losing battle. First of all, as we attack Christ’s way, we ourselves will end up being the ones broken, regardless of any appearance of ministry success or congregational success. Second, Christ doesn’t just take these things lying down. He will come again, this time in vengeance, and fall upon all who have opposed Him and harmed His church. And His vengeance will be frightful!

Luke 20:19 gives us two characteristics that may indicate to us whether we are giving into this mindset of the chief priests and scribes. First, if hearing the Scripture applied to us produces not repentance from our self-seeking but wrath against the scriptural admonishment, we are indulging the kind of heart that is capable of murdering Christ! Second, if we “fear the people,” then perhaps it is because we are following a human agenda rather than God’s.

What shall we do? We who hope only in Christ for our salvation must yield to His authority in His church. He may injure our pride by preaching a gospel that says that it is not our works that save us but only His. He may offend us by flipping over the tables of our traditions. But this is His prerogative, His authority. He is the Chief Cornerstone. And all proper spiritual building is built only in accordance with Him.
In what ways can you submit to Jesus’s authority in His church? How have you done this?
Suggested Songs: ARP118D “Now Open Wide the Gates” or TPH118B “The Glorious Gates”

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