Luke: Savior of the Outcast

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This multi-part expository study of the gospel of Luke was preached at Bethany Community Church beginning in 2009. Audio and abstracts are available for each lesson.

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Lesson 1: Savior of the Outcast (Luke 1:1-4)

There have been, throughout the course of history, competing arguments about the true nature of Jesus. Are portions of his life and character hidden away in other religions or “forgotten” gospel accounts that don’t get a voice in the Bibles we now carry? The reality is, regardless of whether or not we hold to ancient texts or belief systems that present a different Jesus than the one we see in the Scriptures, we are tempted continually to make Him into someone who suits us in our day rather than accept who He has revealed Himself to be. This message, and really this series covering the gospel of Luke, is meant to force you to decide whether you will follow your idea of Jesus or accept the Jesus of the Scriptures. We see in the first verses of the account a number of truths that help us begin this process of discovery. 1.) Luke’s gospel reveals the importance of Jesus’ life. 2.) Luke’s gospel is passionate about the real Jesus. 3.) Luke’s gospel offers a unique portrait of the Savior. 4.) Luke’s gospel strengthens our relationship with Jesus. It is in this account that we hear specifically about the One who has come to seek and save the lost, with special attention given to those not part of the insider club. This is about a Jesus all are invited to put their hope in, but specifically about the Savior of the outcast.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke001.mp3
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Lesson 2: The Cosmic God of Little Things (Luke 1:5-25)

The reporters in the world are continually evaluating what is most important or at least most newsworthy. However, in all likelihood the top stories that would, in any given period, make their way to the most-searched topics on the internet or end up highlighted on the evening news are not the things that are most significant in the life of the individual. The question then becomes, “What things are important to God, and do the quiet happenings in my life register on His radar screen?” We see in this message the teaching of Scripture that every detail of our lives has significance and all is working out, under His sovereign direction, to bring glory to His name and blessing to each of His people. This is what we take away in looking at a married couple in Luke 1, a couple who would have been as easily forgotten in the history of the world as any other. Observing Zechariah and Elizabeth’s account, we draw several principles and their according applications. 1.) Personal righteousness does not mean prominence or ease of life. Be righteous. 2.) The God who directs the affairs of the universe cares about small problems. Live like it. 3.) Even godly people sometimes allow their individual experiences to overwhelm God’s revelation. Don’t. 4.) God looks upon the lowly and cares for them. Have faith in Him.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke002.mp3
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Lesson 3: The God Who Does Impossible Things (Luke 1:26-38)

Introducing Mary. She was an unlikely girl from an unlikely town who was in the same measure extraordinary in her Godward focus and acceptance of God’s plan for her life. The angel, Gabriel, God’s messenger first to Elizabeth and now to Mary is observed bringing an announcement of another baby to be born, one who would not merely be a very great child (as John was prophesied to be) but one who would come as “Son of the Most High” who would “reign over the house of Jacob forever.” Having received such a message, Mary showed herself to be one who thought through such startling news in both a theological and humble manner. She would, like us, be challenged to experience in a deeper way the reality that nothing is impossible with God. In discovering this God of the impossible, we find the following applications from this text: First, this is not a story about Mary. Next, this story is not about the arrival of a precious baby but the arrival of its king. Finally, we see that our response should not be, “oh, so cute,” but, “I want to be a part of this kingdom!”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke003.mp3
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Lesson 4: Mary’s Christmas Carol (Luke 1:39-56)

A focus like that of the virgin Mary makes for a merry Christmas. The song she sung as she visited her cousin, Elizabeth, reveals the heart that we should aim for as we would consider what makes for true happiness during the holiday season, or any season for that matter. Times of great celebration can, when we have an idea in our heads about how everything should go to make for that perfect day, also be a time where we set ourselves up for disappointment—that is what happens to the one who’s happiness is rooted ultimately in self-worship instead of the glory of God. From the song of Mary, we are challenged to learn several lessons that help us put our longings and celebrations in right perspective. We are called, as humble people, to believe God’s message. Additionally, we should recognize God’s might in comparison to our smallness. We ought furthermore to understand God’s mercy, recognizing that the prideful set themselves on a collision course with the Almighty. Lastly, we would do well to trust God’s memory—He will recall the promises He has made in past generations.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke004.mp3
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Lesson 5: God’s Kingdom and the Repentant (Luke 1:57-66)

Questions of what it looks like to be “in the will” of God abound for the believer. If we have sinned in a way that has significantly altered the direction of our lives, are we forever second-class Christians? Or we may sometimes wonder whether or not we have missed out on what our lives could have been if we had only taken the route of obedience at that fork in the road a few miles back. The good news, the news that we get in looking at the text at hand, is that God uses repentant sinners to establish His kingdom. Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, provides a picture of what a humbled sinner renewed for Gods’ purposes looks like. Having faced a moment where he questioned the promise of the Lord with a disbelieving spirit, he would come to praise Him all the more following a season of discipline. In observing this period of Zechariah’s life, we learn that: 1.) Gods’ kingdom plans for us are preserved by His mercy. 2.) Our repentance is demonstrated by our actions. 3.) Our repentance results in God’s glory.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke005.mp3
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Lesson 6: The Kingdom of the Covenants, Part I (Luke 1:67-80)

(Part I) In part one of a two-part message, a first look is taken at the prophesy of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, following his son’s birth. Herein, we observe Him extolling God for His goodness and recounting the faithfulness of the Lord to His promises. In light of such, Pastor Daniel emphasizes the fact that God’s subjects are ambassadors of His present and future kingdom. They are kingdom people no matter what kingdom they temporarily find themselves in. Questions then are answered concerning what it means to live with a dual (earthly and eternal) citizenship. It has been the challenge of the faithful throughout the centuries, and so in order to understand our responsibilities to obey the Lord today, an examination of how former saints operated in and under the various covenants revealed throughout the Scriptures is instructive. Zechariah makes reference to the Davidic covenant, revealing God’s kingdom as a political kingdom. He furthermore makes mention of the Abrahamic covenant, one in which God’s kingdom is seen as a spiritual kingdom. And then there is the new covenant wherein God’s kingdom is a proclaimed kingdom.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke006.mp3
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Lesson 7: The Kingdom of The Covenants, Part II (Luke 1:67-80)

(Part II) Part two of a two-part message continues to look at the praise of God through the mouth of John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah. Reviewing the covenants looked at the previous week (Davidic, Abraham, and New), the point is reemphasized that God’s subjects are ambassadors of His present and future kingdom and exist as kingdom people no matter what kingdom they are temporarily in. In further applying this truth we learn: 1.) God’s kingdom is not the current worldly system we find ourselves a part of, and so we must be careful not to confuse the two. 2.) God’s kingdom has begun and so we work to establish kingdom principles. 3.) God has placed us in this world and we have real obligations to current worldly kingdoms. 4.) God calls us to announce and anticipate His kingdom. Faithful Christians find themselves in a place where their allegiance to this temporal kingdom is sometimes questioned because of their superior allegiance to God’s kingdom. The charge is then given for believers to never find such allegiances reversed.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke007.mp3
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Lesson 8: Christmas versus the Birth of the Savior (Luke 2:1-21)

The birth of Jesus Christ as recorded in Luke 2 is a well-known account that is also commonly accompanied by its own set of fictional details, details that become part of the celebration and wonder that many grew up associating with this season. Because of this, we can sometimes lose sight of what God is trying to teach us through this important text. The good news proclaimed by the angels is what we would do well to carry with us, a message informing everyone that the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, in which full divinity was united with full humanity, is good news because it provides us peace with God. We hear in this statement a number of points to dwell on. Concerning the virgin birth, there is an urge to consider the humanity of the divine Christ who is able to identify with us. In reference to the “good news,” consideration is given to the fact that the birth of Jesus proclaims He is the focus of God’s sovereign plan of redemption. And finally, dwelling on the realization that through Christ we have the opportunity of peace with God, we are reminded of how Jesus’s coming to this earth is a proclamation of the salvation available to all.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke008.mp3
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Lesson 9: Rise or Fall (Luke 2:21-40)

Whether we rise or fall, in the ultimate sense, depends entirely on what we say about Jesus Christ. The text at hand reveals such a truth to the reader as the life and words of a man named Simeon are put on display. He was, like Zechariah and Elizabeth, a righteous and devout man who was looking for the salvation that God would bring to His people. Having been led by the Holy Spirit to the temple, he received the promise of beholding the newborn Messiah before His death. This account reminds us of the importance of the following admonitions that we, 1.) Know that Jesus is God’s provision for salvation. 2.) Trust in Jesus for salvation. 3.) Value Jesus more than anything. 4.) Fear the consequences of rejecting Jesus. Then finally, through a look at the actions of the prophetess Anna in this same passage, we observe the charge to, 5.) Proclaim God’s salvation to others. This is a message for those who need rescuing, or, put another way, this is a message for everyone.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke009.mp3
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Lesson 10: Christ-like Prioritization (Luke 2:41-52)

Living in a world where there is always more that could be done, with internal and external pressures urging a certain prioritization, we would do well to consider the example of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple. In looking at this text, we are encouraged by Pastor Daniel to maintain the focus that, “You will always be able to accomplish what God calls you to do.” To help us to understand this statement rightly, four truths are given to help guide us into the application of this text and boost our worship of God in the process. 1.) You cannot accomplish everything in life—don’t try to! 2.) You may cause pain to others as you follow God—prepare for it! 3.) You may open yourself up to the criticism of others as you follow God—deal with it! And returning to the original encouragement, 4.) You are always able to accomplish what god calls you to do—do it! Within this message, listeners are neither directed to or away from specific ministries but instead encouraged toward deeper ministry in general.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke010.mp3
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Lesson 11: The Call to True Repentance, Part I (Luke 3:1-20)

(Part I) The way in which people are told of their need for a Savior often varies (unfortunately) not only in exact wording but also in content. The resulting problem is that a church building can be full of people who are either frustrated in their new walks with God, or they are altogether unconverted, having never understood the gospel in the first place. John the Baptist did not leave much to question in his presentation of the truth; he called people to repentance in a way that did not minimize sin and judgment. He recognized, through the Spirit’s illumination, the need for people to be rescued from their hopeless plights and so found no reason to sugarcoat his message. In this message we see that the call to repentance, 1) is proclaimed by God to lost people, 2) is accompanied by the promise of the forgiveness of sins, 3) is given boldly so that men and women will know why they must repent, 4) bears fruit in the hearts of those who respond to it by faith, 5) points people to the lordship of Jesus Christ, and 6) will be rejected by many. Such a framework aids the believer in taking the truth of the gospel to a lost world.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke011.mp3
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Lesson 12: The Call to True Repentance, Part II (Luke 3:1-20)

(Part II) Continuing the theme from last week... The way in which people are told of their need for a Savior often varies (unfortunately) not only in exact wording but also in content. The resulting problem is that a church building can be full of people who are either frustrated in their new walks with God, or they are altogether unconverted, having never understood the gospel in the first place. John the Baptist didn’t leave much to question in his presentation of the truth; he called people to repentance in a way that didn’t minimize sin and judgment. He recognized, through the Spirit’s illumination, the need for people to be rescued from their hopeless plights and so found no reason to sugarcoat his message. In this message we see that the call to repentance, 1) is proclaimed by God to lost people, 2) is accompanied by the promise of the forgiveness of sins, 3) is given boldly so that men and women will know why they must repent, 4) bears fruit in the hearts of those who respond to it by faith, 5) points people to the lordship of Jesus Christ, and 6) will be rejected by many. Such a framework aids the believer in taking the truth of the gospel to a lost world.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke012.mp3
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Lesson 13: The Human and Divine Son of God

Christ’s entrance into ministry is presented by Luke in such a way that we are able to see His credentials as the God-Man come to bring salvation to the world. In reading through His human lineage, we are gripped by the fact that all who had lived from the time of Adam likewise died after they had run their brief courses; sin brought death to all. But what is also noteworthy is that Jesus is announced, by the Father Himself and through the presence of the Holy Spirit, as someone new: the beloved Son of God. Pastor Daniel presents the message then that the observer should trust Jesus Christ, for He is the One who can provide you with the righteousness you need. He can do this because, 1) He is the Divine Son of God, and 2) He is the Human Son of God. As such, Christ brings divine righteousness to humans in their sin through His work on the cross. We are in immediate danger without Him; He is the hero we need for our rescue.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke013.mp3
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Lesson 14: Resisting the Deceitfulness of Sin (Luke 4:1-13)

Jesus did not believe the lies that accompanied the temptations He encountered. This is what set Him apart as the only sinless human who has ever lived. We see the prime example of His resistance as He encountered the devil in the wilderness during His forty days of fasting. Jesus gives us great encouragement and hope…hope that perhaps there is a way to prevail in the struggle against the temptations to satisfy the endless lusts of our hearts. This message helps us to see how, in Christ, we too can resist the deceitful enticements of sin. We do such, not through our own power, for in that way we would only believe the lies that sin speaks. It is only in Christ that we can know the perfect truth that will set us free in this regard. Christ is the victor in His complete obedience to the Father, and He alone shows us the way into the same faithfulness to our God.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke014.mp3
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Lesson 15: Who Receives the Lord’s Favor?

Our modern American culture encourages us to think about ourselves as supremely valuable individuals entitled to certain rights and privileges. We should have a generous amount of esteem in the eyes of others, a certain and ever-increasing amount of money from our workplaces (or elsewhere), and a God who exists to make us happy. It turns out, however, that Jesus faced a similar attitude during His ministry among us millennia ago. Having been given the opportunity to open up the Scripture before those gathered at the synagogue, he went on to apply the text to Himself as the Messiah it spoke of. The people of His day then responded in the same way as so many do today; they could not see themselves as needy people whose only hope would be in a Savior instead of somehow in themselves. We learn from this message that 1) God richly bestows His favor upon the needy, and 2) that we are the needy, not the deserving.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke015.mp3
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Lesson 16: The Authority of the Christ (Luke 4:31-44)

We have decisions to make and opinions to form every day. The big question then becomes: What is our source of authority? Information on just about anything is more easily accessible today than it has ever been, bringing about the necessity for a standard to judge the validity of all the available data. In this message, Pastor Daniel helps us to see how Jesus’s authority over your life is all encompassing, and it makes no allowances for competing authorities. We see this from the text at hand in the following ways: 1) Christ’s authority is revealed in His word. 2) Christ’s authority is resisted by the demonic realm. 3) Christ’s authority is realized in the physical realm. 4) Christ’s authority is recognized by all. For those who might question the importance of this area of authority, it is necessary they also consider that someday each individual will stand before the authoritative Christ this text points us toward.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke016.mp3
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Lesson 17: Letting Down Your Nets (Luke 5:1-11)

How important is it that God know us, knows our circumstances, and is aware of the innumerable details of every life that has ever (or will ever live) on earth? Our obedience to Him actually counts on these realities. He asks of us things that seem counter-intuitive, unnecessary, or downright difficult…things that require us to believe God apart from what we can see. This is the kind of faith that Jesus required of Peter when He called him as a disciple. From the text at hand, we receive the message that God alone knows us, and the paths before us, perfectly; we should therefore follow Christ. We are challenged then to seek God so as to know His revealed will in an intellectual sense. It is furthermore important that we trust Christ’s directions, for, based upon what God knows, Christ directs. Finally, given what we come to understand about God and His omniscience, we can “let down our nets,” making the decision to obey Him at every turn.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke017.mp3
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Lesson 18: Grace to the Outcast (Luke 5:12-16)

In the gospel of Luke, we see Jesus repeatedly showing kindness to those in need, an example of such is found here in the grace He gives to a man “full of leprosy.” As this individual saw his need and came to the Savior, it causes us to think about how it is we should approach Jesus as well. Should we avoid Him altogether because of our sinfulness? Should we presume upon His grace? Or perhaps we should recognize that Christ is gracious and hears the cry of the humble outcast. With the latter being the Biblical option, Pastor Daniel challenges us in the following ways: 1) Realize your condition. 2) Recognize your need for Jesus. 3) Request Christ’s mercy. And finally, 4) Receive Christ’s gift. These are the truths that the leper, a man who was considered all but dead in his culture, came to realize as he sought mercy from his only Hope in the world.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke018.mp3
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Lesson 19: The Authority to Forgive Sins (Luke 5:17-26)

There is a focus in Luke 5 on the authority of Jesus, authority that is joyously accepted by some and disdained by others. Those two worlds collide in this section. We observe some faithful friends literally tearing the roof off of a house to get their paralyzed companion close to Jesus because they believed that Christ had the power to help him. As Jesus tangibly confirmed this belief, the stage was set for the religious authorities to reveal their disbelief in Jesus authority, especially His authority to forgive sins. The key point then of this message from Pastor Daniel is that, “as God, Jesus Christ has the total, complete, full authority and ability to totally, completely, fully, entirely, wholly, forgive the sins of those who place their faith in Him.” It follows, therefore, that we should, 1) Beware of challenging Christ’s authority in our hearts and, 2) Produce fruit that demonstrates our faith.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke019.mp3
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Lesson 20: Healing the Spiritually Sick (Luke 5:27-32)

Would you rather be sick or righteous? The answer to this seems like an obvious one; it likely did to the Pharisees also, only Jesus did not like their answer. However, meet Levi, a “sick” tax collector called of Jesus to apostolic ministry, a once-lost man who was chosen to call others to repentance. And that is the central focus of the message at hand: sinners who need to repent are introduced to Christ by sinners who have been redeemed. As we watch Levi walk through the phases of reprobate, repentant, rejoicing, and finally reaching out to others, we too are challenged to consider what it means to have been changed by Jesus. In light of the fact that the sick need spiritual healing, we ought to ask ourselves the question, “What if Levi’s friends were depending on me to proclaim the gospel to them?” In looking at our own hearts, we would be well advised to 1) Repent of our self-righteousness, 2) Love Jesus, 3) Engage the spiritually sick, and 4) Call sinners to repentance. This was Levi’s journey, and it is ours to embark on as well.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke020.mp3
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Lesson 21: Fasting for the Bridegroom (Luke 5:33-39)

It is not a strange thing in any of the gospels to see certain segments of the Jewish population of Jesus’s day question His ministry. This passage is no different, and Jesus urges His questioners to consider the uniqueness and blessing of His presence with them. In this instance, the inquiry is about fasting and why Jesus doesn’t seem all that concerned to have His disciples engaged in it. Pastor Daniel, in taking us through this passage, helps us to see that “fasting is the feast believers partake in as they long for the return of their Redeemer.” Helping his listeners understand both the misconceptions about fasting and its true purpose as revealed in the Scriptures, we come to see that this practice is ultimately about us longing for His glory and all-consuming presence, recognizing that everything in regard to fasting is based upon where Jesus is…chronologically and geographically. This is a message for those who want (or need to want!) to long more for Jesus. Fasting can be a beautiful means to help us toward that end.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke021.mp3
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Lesson 22: The Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:1-11)

If there was one thing that even the casual observer could say about Jesus, it is that He was incredibly good at disrupting the minds and methods of the Pharisees and scribes. It seemed that every question they had (ones they already had an expected answer for) and every trap they placed ended up being turned upside down. The humbling part about this is that while we may stand on the sidelines and shout, “Yea, Jesus!” there’s a lesson we need to understand just as much as the opponents of Jesus’s day. What we learn from this text as we are walked through it is that “[Joyfully] submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord is the essence of obedience.” There are then a number of principles to consider in that regard. 1) Submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord means freedom, not oppression. 2) Submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord produces worship, not work. 3) Submitting to Jesus Christ brings life, not death. This life often is about the benefits brought to those around us as we seek the Lord, and so Pastor Daniel finishes by asking, “How is your life benefiting those around you?”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke022.mp3
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Lesson 23: Choosing the Twelve, Part I (Luke 6:12-16)

(Part I) In this two-part series, we are introduced to twelve famous (and to a small degree, infamous) followers of Jesus: Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon the zealot, Judas (son of James), and Judas Iscariot. Though all very different men from scattered backgrounds, Jesus nonetheless gathered them as one to His side. Through this, Pastor Daniel reminds us that “the effectiveness of our ministry is not dependent upon the one who was called but rather the One who called. It is Jesus who calls and through the Holy Spirit equips us.” As we examine the lives of these men, observing how Jesus interacted with them, considering the ways in which they grew into the men we observe at Pentecost and thereafter, we draw out life principles for ourselves. Their lives serve as great reminders of our need for the one true Savior who calls us out from places of darkness and into His marvelous light.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke022.mp3
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Lesson 24: Choosing the Twelve, Part II (Luke 6:12-16)

(Part II) Choosing the Twelve continued...In this two-part series, we are introduced to twelve famous (and to a small degree, infamous) followers of Jesus: Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon the zealot, Judas (son of James), and Judas Iscariot. Though all very different men from scattered backgrounds, Jesus nonetheless gathered them as one to His side. Through this, Pastor Daniel reminds us that “the effectiveness of our ministry is not dependent upon the one who was called but rather the One who called. It is Jesus who calls and through the Holy Spirit equips us.” As we examine the lives of these men, observing how Jesus interacted with them, considering the ways in which they grew into the men we observe at Pentecost and thereafter, we draw out life principles for ourselves. Their lives serve as great reminders of our need for the one true Savior who calls us out from places of darkness and into His marvelous light.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke024.mp3
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Lesson 25: Happiness in the Kingdom, Part I (Luke 6:17-26)

(Part I) Everyone wants to be happy, but many of our common pursuits do not yield the happiness we are seeking. Jesus, however, knows what is best for us, offering to us that which is most satisfying. In part 1 of this two-part message, we are presented with the main idea of, “happy are you who find your satisfaction in Christ and His kingdom.” As we read that we are blessed when poor and hungry, while woes are upon us if we are rich and filled, these ideas seem altogether counter-intuitive. But Christ gives us the reasons why they are yet true: He alone satisfies. From such, we learn 1) You are fortunate if you are seeking your security in Christ’s kingdom, and 2) You are fortunate if the only food that will satisfy you is the Bread of Life. Jesus has more for us than the ideas of a nice or successful life. In light of His majesty, we are able to see that we regularly delight ourselves in worthless things and simply need to turn our faces toward Him.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke025.mp3
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Lesson 26: Happiness in the Kingdom, Part II: Prestige and Persecution (Luke 6:17-26)

(Part II) In part 2 of the examination of this text we again look at the key idea of, “happy are you who find your satisfaction in Christ and His kingdom,” and particularly in this message, “…and have abandoned the quest to find satisfaction in the prestige this kingdom offers.” In this passage, we continue to observe how Jesus takes concepts that we would conceive to be categorized one way and reverses them so that we might see something of greater value to pursue in place of that concept. Pastor Daniel points out Jesus’s message that, “Blessed are you who weep,” helping us to understand that we are fortunate if the state of this present world brings us sorrow and godly discontentment. Furthermore, in studying the statement, “Blessed are you who are hated,” the challenge comes to consider ourselves fortunate if we crave the reward of our King more than the approval of rebellious fellow slaves. This is a message for those who wonder if Jesus offers something better than anything this world presents us with.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke026.mp3
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Lesson 27: Kingdom Ethics (Luke 6:27-36)

Ordinary ethics vs. Kingdom ethics. There is a distinction drawn between the two in this text. It is quite ordinary to “love those who love you.” It is quite a different thing to love one’s enemies. And so, in light of this distinction given us in the text at hand, Pastor Daniel seeks to drive home the point that, “what motivates your treatment of others reveals what kingdom you are a citizen of.” We are masters at justifying our actions. Whether we play the victim, act the part of the hero, or compare ourselves to someone “worse” than ourselves, the practice of ordinary ethics comes all too natural. Those in Christ’s kingdom, however, will endeavor to obey Christ’s commands to 1) Love those who hate, 2) Bless those who curse, 3) Care for those who abuse, and 4) Give to those who take. Each of these directives point us back to what Jesus gives as “the golden rule”: “…As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke027.mp3
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Lesson 28: Judging Others, Part I: Choosing Your Measure (Luke 6:37-38)

(Part I) What is it that we hope for from the Lord? Or perhaps a better/more honest question might be, “What do we expect from God?” An answer to either of those questions is likely, “grace,” though we might relay that same answer in different ways. Grace from God is something that we simply all must have if there is to be any hope at all of relationship with Him either now or in eternity. Jesus instructs us about the way in which the gift of grace works, and the main point of this sermon flows from that instruction, “Those who lavish others with God’s grace are those who will receive God’s grace. You determine the measure cup God will use to measure you.” Two simple statements then are derived from the text and help us to flesh out the key idea. The first is a negative directive: Don’t pass judgment on others. The second is of a positive nature: Do lavish mercy on others.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke028.mp3
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Lesson 29: Judging Others, Part II: Blinding Hypocrisy (Luke 6:39-42)

(Part II) While we have from Jesus in this text an amusing set of word pictures, the application of the truth He was illustrating is all but laughable. The first is of two blind men out on a stroll with a pit in their path. The second is of one man trying to relieve another of his tiny eye irritant while harboring a piece of lumber in his own eye. Pastor Daniel helps to flesh out for us the idea that “until we are convinced of the depth of our own failures and sins, not only are we unable to help, we are certain to harm. We are blinded by hypocrisy.” So not only do we need to recognize that we are a potential spiritual danger to others as we would judge them for their sins while ignoring our own, we need to follow that up with the action of moving our focus from external to internal, doing the difficult but necessary work of dealing with our own hearts. The challenge is given to ask ourselves two things: 1) What have I been using as a smokescreen to avoid asking myself the hard questions, and 2) How has my conduct negatively impacted the spiritual maturity of others?

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke0298.mp3
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Lesson 30: A Tree and its Fruit (Luke 6:43-45)

Our tendency is often to ignore our own inconsistencies, thinking that it is enough to give a good outward showing while letting our hearts go quite another direction. But Jesus makes clear that this is a game we simply cannot win. What is on the inside will not stay hidden, whether for good or for ill. And that is related to the central idea of this text that Pastor Daniel walks us through: The content of your heart is revealed by the condition of your fruit. The applications of this are that 1) You must have a changed heart before you can have changed behavior, 2) You will produce good fruit if you are a believer, 3) You are not a believer if you do not produce good fruit, 4) Your good fruit is God’s fruit, and 5) You must inspect the fruit of your heart. We learn from this text the necessity of our complete need for the Lord to change us and then to give Him all the glory for the good that He later brings in and through us.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke030.mp3
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Lesson 31: Calling Christ Lord (Luke 6:46-49)

Knowing that people can say to Jesus, “Lord, Lord” in the end only to find out that Jesus has no affiliation with them (and they never truly with Him) is a startling thought that warrants humble contemplation from any in the church; we need to think through statements like this. Pastor Daniel sets forward the truth from this passage that “the one who truly calls Christ Lord is saved [and] perseveres.” If such is the case, what then is the true character of the one who knows the Lord? The first trait is built into the central point just mentioned: We must persevere to be saved. It follows though that all true believers will persevere. Thirdly, we see from the Scriptures that God is the one to ultimately persevere His saints. It is equally helpful then to compare these traits to the ones of those who falsely call Christ Lord. Such a person hears His words but fails to do His words. As a result, he falls. At the end of the message, the application is given to “come, hear, do, [and] persevere.” Such is the responsibility of all who desire true fellowship with Christ.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke031.mp3
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Lesson 32: A Marvelous Faith (Luke 7:1-10)

Some of the greatest acts of faith displayed in the gospel accounts come from rather unlikely characters. That is the case in Luke 7. As Jesus receives a request from a centurion, an influential Gentile with a sick servant, we observe a man who understands his own humble place under the authority of the Messiah. Not willing that Jesus even come to his house, he simply believed that the Lord could say a word and heal his valued servant. In the centurion we observe how “a God-pleasing faith humbles us and exalts Christ.” Through his example, we are challenged in the following ways: 1) Your Christ-exalting, God pleasing faith should cause you to be in awe as you engage in worship, 2) Your Christ-exalting, God pleasing faith should cause you to trust His leading, and 3) Your Christ-exalting, God pleasing faith should cause you to fear others less.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke032.mp3
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Lesson 33: Tragedy and Triumph (Luke 7:11-17)

The tragedy of death is a reality of life. It is a completely hopeless occurrence if we face it apart from the One who has power over it. Pastor Daniel helps us to understand this truth by sharing the central idea that, “Death is terrible, tragic, and—because of our triumphant Christ—temporary.” A woman who had lost her only son to this universal tragedy was in an especially difficult place: she was a widow who had lost her only son, the man in her life that would have taken care of her in years to come. Jesus did the impossible for this woman by reversing death and giving her the gift she never could have imagined receiving. As we observe this story, we get to see this reversal develop. There is at first “the sorrow of sin” with its terrible and varied effects. But then comes “the compassion of Christ” that reminds us of how we do not face our sorrow alone. Following this, “the greatness of God” is evidenced through our death-defeating Savior. And finally there comes “the confession of the crowd” wherein we ourselves are challenged to make up our minds concerning how we will respond to the Lord.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke033.mp3
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Lesson 34: Authentic Ministry (Luke 7:24-28)

John the Baptist’s ministry was all about Jesus. It was what he had been made for and it is what Jesus Himself focused on when talking about John to the crowds. Pastor Daniel drives home the point that, “authentic, God-exalting ministry is distinguished by its unwavering commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.” One does not need to look far into church culture to find a variety of proposed solutions to the church’s efforts to engage the people both in and out of her pews. Is there a special model to follow, a list of steps, or scientific research that brings an answer? From this passage, with a look at Jesus’s summary of John’s ministry, we receive some incredibly helpful insights. 1) An authentic ministry stands firm in its call to repentance. 2) An authentic ministry values Christ above all else. Finally, 3) an authentic ministry proclaims Christ boldly.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke034.mp3
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Lesson 35: The Heart of Unbelief (Luke 7:29-35)

Since Jesus entered our world, people have been forced to ask the question, “What am I going to do with this Person named Jesus?” Because this question must be answered, those who look like Jesus in their ministry also have to be dealt with. John the Baptist was a prime example of such a one about whom people needed to make up their minds. In this message, Pastor Daniel emphasizes the point, “the unbelieving heart must humble itself and repent of its rejection of Christ.” Examining the characteristics of an unbelieving heart, the following is observed: Such a heart refuses to repent (this is what is seen in the Pharisees and the lawyers), demands that God dance (the entire “generation” reveals such), and finally, the unbelieving heart rejects God’s revelation (despite the fact that it might come as something easily observable).

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke035.mp3
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Lesson 36: Forgiveness and Worship (Luke 7:36-50)

Throughout the gospels we get some sweet pictures of people who love Jesus in such a way that reminds us of how precious a Savior He is. A “great sinner” does just that for us in this story as she weeps at the feet of Jesus and shows how much she values Him by anointing His feet with expensive perfume. The setting provided Jesus the opportunity to highlight the contrast between His host, Simon, and a woman Simon and his party wished had not come by. We observe the following principles as we are taken through this text. 1) Christ forgives sinners. God loves, welcomes, and forgives sinners. 2) Forgiven sinners love Christ. (As we grow in our understanding of forgiveness, we grow in our love for Him.) 3) Love for Christ always manifests itself in profound, God-glorifying actions. 4) Therefore, God’s incredible forgiveness is designed to reveal God’s magnificent glory.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke036.mp3
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Lesson 37: Hearing the Word, Part I- The Path (Luke 8:1-21)

(Part I) Pastor Daniel here lays the foundation for what will be covered over these same verses in the coming weeks. The text addresses a problem that we have as human beings: “Both the hardness of the human heart and the active opposition of the enemy conspire to thwart our understanding of God’s good news.” It might be said that everyone, simply through normal living, has two strikes against him from the get-go. It would seem to us then to be a strange thing that Jesus would use a parable to explain the solution to these problems until we come to understand that He always delivered to each person what was most needful given the present state of their souls. There exist so many obstacles to receiving into our hearts the living Word that we hear, and we understand from texts like this one that it is only God who can overcome such obstacles to receiving the gospel. We are left then with the charge to examine our hearts to see if we really understand this message and then pray too that God would help us overcome any hindrances to our being able to share clearly the gospel with others.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke037.mp3
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Lesson 38: Hearing the Word, Part II- The Tragedy of Temporary Faith (Luke 8:1-21)

(Part II) We continue to be challenged through the exposition of this text to ask ourselves the important question of how we respond to God’s Word. Honing in on the seed that fell on the rocky soil, Pastor Daniel drives the main point home that “a failure to endure during times of testing reveals that you have not responded to the Gospel of Jesus Christ with saving faith.” For the testing of our own hearts then, we are encouraged to ask ourselves if we exhibit the following characteristics of a “rocky” heart: 1) This heart initially receives God’s Word with joy. 2) This heart never grows stronger. 3) This heart withers when tested. The big question then becomes for everyone reading this text, “How real is my belief?” Is it a kind of temporary “faith without works” that James describes or is it the kind that endures and bears fruit over time? If the former is the case, there is great reason for alarm that we would do well not to ignore. True, living faith will not be based upon a season or circumstance but will grow and develop in beautiful ways over time.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke038.mp3
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Lesson 40: Hearing the Word, Part IV- The Grounds of Biblical Assurance (Luke 8:1-21)

Editor's Note: Lesson 39 (Part 3 in this mini-series) on the parable of the soils is unavailable. The audio file is no longer extant.

(Part IV) The final type of soil in Jesus’s parable, and the one that He finishes with in explaining the meaning to the disciples, is the good, fruitful soil producing an abundant crop. There are some distinguishing marks of this soil that set it apart from the others. It is the only seed that falls into the ground instead of simply on or among. It furthermore is the case that, not only does this soil produce something, the actual crop yielded is an exceptional one. Having looked at the first three soils and their ultimate rejection of the seed of the gospel, we are once again brought to the point of testing our own hearts in order that we might have assurance that we truly know the Lord. A couple of questions once again help us in this testing. 1) Am I holding fast to the gospel? 2) Am I persevering in producing spiritual fruit? Helpful to remember at this point is that such growth is never put forward in the Scriptures as that which flows out of a type of man-centered power or legalism but instead comes about through the work of God in the true believer. It ultimately all comes down to a life centered on Christ that yields joyful obedience.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke040.mp3
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Lesson 41: Hearing the Word, Part V- Living Doctrine (Luke 8:1-21)

(Part V) Having been presented with the soils and their various “reactions” to the seed (the gospel), there then comes the question of what the one who has received the Word is to do with it. Pastor Daniel gives an answer through his assertion of the main point of this message, “We should respond to the Word of God by knowing it, living it, and pursuing God through it.” In other words, we need to live it out! What does this look like over a lifetime, however, as we would seek to grow in our knowledge of the Word in order that we might walk in faithful obedience? We are given some instruction how to handle biblical doctrine, instruction that helps us step through life in focused faithfulness. 1) Know and be convinced of the truth. 2) Live out the truth. 3) Take care with the truth. 4) Pursue the author of the truth. Ultimately, all of this comes down to a simple admonition: Hear what Jesus says and do it!

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke041.mp3
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Lesson 42: Faith in the Storm (Luke 8:22-26)

What is the purpose of trials in our lives? This is a question that all Christ followers need a good answer to if they are to think rightly about God and His purposefulness in sovereignly orchestrating our conditions in this life. Pastor Daniel drives home the point in this message that “Trials are not eternal torments but are temporary tests that reveal our trust in Christ.” As the disciples found themselves in the midst of the storm on the Sea of Galilee, they did all that they could to try and save themselves as Jesus took a nap during this time of distress. But Jesus, responding to their cries, rebuked the storm and then the disciples for their lack of faith. While this seems harsh to us, it illustrates for us what faith in a sovereign Lord actually means. It will call us to 1) follow Him into storms, 2) trust Him in the midst of storms, and 3) understand that He ordains storms.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke042.mp3
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Lesson 43: Terrible and Triumphant Powers (Luke 8:26-39)

Of all the astounding signs and miracles Jesus performed that remind us of how amazing He was, there are those instances which also strike us as categorically falling into a league of their own. Pigs becoming demon possessed and rushing to their deaths over a cliff is one of those, but there is obviously more to this account than odd swine occurrences. Pastor Daniel makes the case that “we must acknowledge that we face a terrible and evil power when we face the demonic realm. But [it’s] a power that must completely subject itself to our triumphant Christ.” In this message, the reality and power of the demonic realm is highlighted, but our need to cling to our Lord in heart and practice is emphasized in a way that reminds us of how great a Hope we have. Jesus revealed His power over the legion of demons in the demoniac, a power than none other had been able to exhibit. And so, though this world be fraught with dangers, we are reminded of how our God is greater and how we need not live in fear.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke043.mp3
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Lesson 44: Fear and Faith (Luke 8:40-56)

Jesus brought hope to needful individuals on every end of multiple spectrums. People, all sharing life in a fallen world in a little corner Israel, had needs; the word on the street was that Jesus delivered relief in miraculous ways. In the passage at hand, we see how He brought such comfort and relief to an established “clean” family and then to an “unclean” woman plagued by years of illness. But in every case of suffering, there is a truth in this message that Pastor Daniel shares: “In times of physical trials, do not fear; only believe.” Through looking at Jesus’s interactions with the needful in this account, we are reminded to 1) allow God to use physical illness in your life to drive you to spiritual desperation, and 2) be aware that your natural tendency is to be filled with fear instead of faith. A right fear of God that includes the kind of awe and desperate trembling for Him that the Scriptures call us to have will, at the same time, bolster our faith in the One who has victory over even death.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke044.mp3
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Lesson 45: Proclaiming the Coming Kingdom (Luke 9:1-9)

What does it look like to be prepared for travel into a new gospel-preaching ministry? The disciples were given simple instructions from Jesus in this, instructions that might make us at first scratch our head if we’re coming from a modern Western context. But part of what Pastor Daniel helps us to see in the message at hand is that there are some underlying principles that we should recognize—principles that extend beyond this one narrative about a certain group of people at a certain moment in time. He points out that, 1) You are an ambassador for the kingdom of God (and not an independent contractor), 2) Your needs for life and ministry are met by God through His people, 3) Your ministry is protected by your integrity, and 4) You cannot compromise God’s message in order to win popular acclaim.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke045.mp3
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Lesson 46: Satisfying Bread (Luke 9:10-17)

Jesus continually showed Himself to be a provider for those in need. He did so in some of the smallest ways through personal individual relationships, it happened miraculously such as in this passage where He fed a large crowd, and it took place in a complete way for people though His work on the cross. In all cases, He showed Himself to be the bread that everyone needed. Pastor Daniel shows in this message that we, on our own accord, are unable to satisfy the physical and spiritual needs of others and ourselves; Christ is the only solution as the all-satisfying bread of heaven. He points out that Luke, in both his gospel account and the book of Acts, narrates the story of Jesus and the early church in such a way that continually displayed how instructions were given to people, how they found that they could not accomplish what was required, and that they needed the continuous flow of the life-stream of Jesus Christ for their own satisfaction and the satisfaction of others.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke046.mp3
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Lesson 47: Confessing the Crucified Christ (Luke 9:18-22)

A shining moment by Peter was followed by difficult words from Jesus. The great truth that Jesus was the Messiah contained also the startling news that the same would suffer, die, and be raised. This was who Jesus was and this was what Jesus came to do. Pastor Daniel points out through this text the necessity of our coming to accept the fullness of who Jesus is and not who we are comfortable with Him being. First, it is not enough for us to confess that Jesus is a great teacher or prophet. Second, it is not enough for us to confess that Jesus is the Christ. And finally, we must confess the suffering, rejected, dying, and resurrected Christ. Daniel wraps up this message through delivering the encouragement for each and every person, on an individual basis, to recognize his/her need for a Savior. It simply is not enough to come close to the truth while never submitting fully to it.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke047.mp3
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Lesson 48: Death and Discipleship (Luke 9:23-27)

Jesus was a master at grabbing his disciples’ attention through counter-intuitive statements and plays on words. Consider the passage at hand, “whoever would save his life will lose it…” In reality, some of the most challenging directives that He ever gave rose out of statements like this one. Being a disciple then and being one now meant and means that we are willing to have our minds bent and challenged in ways we would not have sought out on our own. Daniel shares in this message what Scripture brings out as the true meaning of discipleship, stating, “Becoming Christ’s disciple does not mean making some modifications to your current life but rather means your immediate and violent death.” In fleshing this out, he makes the following points: 1) Discipleship begins when your life ends. 2) You and your life cannot both be saved.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke048.mp3
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Lesson 49: Christ’s Glory Revealed (Luke 9:28-36)

Spending time with Jesus was certainly not a run-of-the-mill experience for the disciples, but the day of the transfiguration had to be one of those moments that made the top-five list in the minds of Peter, James, and John. And while seeing Jesus, Moses, and Elijah speaking together would likely elicit a period of silence from any beholder, Simon, true to form, spoke his mind; after such, God, true to form, realigned the focus of everyone there. Pastor Daniel helps us to see from this passage how it is that we are to come to see Christ, fully God and fully man, who calls us to follow Him. God had made clear to the disciples that, while Peter (and probably any of them) would not have fitting words in the face of the glories of Christ, this Son, this Chosen One, deserved their full attention and devotion. Such is the call on anyone who would be a disciple.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke049.mp3
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Lesson 50: The Glory Below (Luke 9:37-45)

Jesus’s ministry was full of both beauty and mystery. The fact that He was Lord over all creation and could see into each and every soul, correctly assessing the motives of anyone He interacted with, and direct people in a certain way even though their understanding of His words were sometimes destined to be lost on them, lends to the mystery that sometimes surrounded His work. He is seen in this account healing a man while calling the people present part of a twisted generation and then calling for the attention of disciples that had His words concealed from them. What must be understood is that Jesus had an understanding of reality that nobody else had, and though he had shared the transfiguration experience with Peter, James, and John just a short time before, they and others were still struggling to really grasp this “new” reality and what it meant for ministry to the suffering while not on their “mountain-top” experience. Pastor Daniel emphasizes that the key point of this text is that “God’s majesty is not only revealed on the mountaintop; God’s glory is also revealed in the transformed lives of people who have been shattered and then restored.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke050.mp3
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Lesson 51: The Path to Greatness (Luke 9:46-48)

We all live in the light of the beautiful profundity of the life, work, and message of Jesus Christ. Despite this fact, we can act and think and converse with one another as if such huge realities had no bearing on us. The original disciples struggled with this too, and Luke brings this out in his gospel account by recalling a much-needed dialogue about true greatness; he does this on the heels of writing about Jesus foretelling his death. Through giving numerous examples of what it means to have a prideful or humble heart, and by drawing out the truth of how children are an example to us of what actual greatness looks like, Pastor Daniel drives home the point that “the path to true greatness is trod upon not by the boots of the victorious warrior, or the cleats of a multi-million dollar ballplayer, or the wing-tipped business shoes of the CEO but by the cracked, blistered bare feet of the servant.” A desire to be great in God’s economy will only be satisfied in humbly attending to the needs of others and seeing their needs as greater than one’s own.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke051.mp3
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Lesson 52: Promoting Mercy, Protecting Truth (Luke 9:49-56)

Following Jesus is a trial and error process, a realization any Christian today will face and one that the twelve disciples had to come to grips with as well. Their ideas for ministry were developing as they followed Jesus and sought to put into practice the things they were learning. Such times were followed by course-correcting instruction by the Master, instruction that might have sometimes seemed harsh, but ones that gave them (and us today) the correct understandings of truth and practice in Christian living. Pastor Daniel then, from this passage, makes the argument that there is a responsibility for believers to promote mercy while protecting truth; principles counteract arrogance and judgmentalism but not at the expense of truth. The principles referred to are as follows: 1) No one has a monopoly on gospel ministry—get over yourself. 2) Rejection is a normative part of gospel ministry—get used to it. 3) The gospel is universally humbling in its exclusiveness—be humbled. Finally, 4) God graciously allows time for people to repent and believe the gospel—go and do likewise.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke052.mp3
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Lesson 53: Reasons Not to Follow Jesus (Luke 9:57-62)

Our tendency toward self-reliance and human wisdom doesn’t simply disappear when we’ve made up our minds to follow Jesus. We see Him here dealing with those who knew something of the value of being near to the One who could feed a crowd with a single sack lunch, calm a raging storm with a word, or hang out on a mountain with prophets who lived hundreds of years prior. What Jesus showed, however, was that coming to Him on any terms and timing other than His own was completely out of the question. Pastor Daniel helps us to understand the seemingly harsh words from Jesus in this passage by reminding us that, “discipleship means certain loss.” This includes the loss of physical possessions, the loss of family, and in essence, the loss of everything. While this is a sobering reality, it is put into perspective through the reminder that disciples also gain everything in gaining Christ.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke053.mp3
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Lesson 54: Compelled by Compassion: Principles for Harvest Ministry, Part I (Luke 10:1-9)

(Part I) What we know as the Great Commission may have really “taken off” following the ascension and Pentecost, but earlier times of sending also took place such as the one that we see in this passage. The instructions that Jesus gave at that time are similarly instructive for us today for the gospel ministry believers have been called to. In this two-part message, Pastor Daniel pulls out such principles to minister by, principles which all flow from the fact that we consider a harvest in need of workers and then proceed into it with compassionate hearts. Those who have experienced the grace of God through Jesus Christ are, in this harvest ministry, to pray for God’s grace, go into enemy territory, trust God’s provision, proclaim God’s peace, remain where God bears fruit, minister to the sick, and warn of God’s wrath.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke054.mp3
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Lesson 55: Compelled by Compassion: Principles for Harvest Ministry, Part II (Luke 10:1-9)

(Part II) What we know as the Great Commission may have really “taken off” following the ascension and Pentecost, but earlier times of sending also took place such as the one that we see in this passage. The instructions that Jesus gave at that time are similarly instructive for us today for the gospel ministry believers have been called to. In this two-part message, Pastor Daniel pulls out such principles to minister by, principles which all flow from the fact that we consider a harvest in need of workers and then proceed into it with compassionate hearts. Those who have experienced the grace of God through Jesus Christ are, in this harvest ministry, to pray for God’s grace, go into enemy territory, trust God’s provision, proclaim God’s peace, remain where God bears fruit, minister to the sick, and warn of God’s wrath.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke055.mp3
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Lesson 56: The Eternal Consequences of Rejecting the Gospel, Part I (Luke 10:10-16)

(Part I) In as much as it is hoped that people respond to the gospel message they hear (as we are moved by the fact that “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”), it is the sad reality that many will hear and choose not to believe. Jesus makes it clear that rejecting this message, dismissing this gracious gift of God is extremely consequential. While false ideas about who Jesus is, what His judgment (or lack thereof) looks like, and whether or not an actual place of hell exists are all controversies that make their way into the church, Jesus make some things very understandable through the text at hand. Pastor Daniel emphasizes, over this two-part sermon, that people must know there are eternal consequences for rejecting the gospel, that unbelievers will be sent to a place of eternal and conscious torment, that there will be degrees of punishment based upon one’s access and response to God’s revelation, that it is difficult to fully comprehend the reality and justice of hell at this point in time, and that God is perfectly just and right in His judgments. It is upon Christians then to warn people of God’s wrath and tell them of His gift of Christ.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke056.mp3
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Lesson 57: The Eternal Consequences of Rejecting the Gospel, Part II (Luke 10:10-16)

(Part II) In as much as it is hoped that people respond to the gospel message they hear (as we are moved by the fact that “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”), it is the sad reality that many will hear and choose not to believe. Jesus makes it clear that rejecting this message, dismissing this gracious gift of God is extremely consequential. While false ideas about who Jesus is, what His judgment (or lack thereof) looks like, and whether or not an actual place of hell exists are all controversies that make their way into the church, Jesus make some things very understandable through the text at hand. Pastor Daniel emphasizes, over this two-part sermon, that people must know there are eternal consequences for rejecting the gospel, that unbelievers will be sent to a place of eternal and conscious torment, that there will be degrees of punishment based upon one’s access and response to God’s revelation, that it is difficult to fully comprehend the reality and justice of hell at this point in time, and that God is perfectly just and right in His judgments. It is upon Christians then to warn people of God’s wrath and tell them of His gift of Christ.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke057.mp3
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Lesson 58: Joy in a Sovereign God (Luke 10:17-24)

It’s hard to imagine not being excited over the fact that, after being sent out by Jesus to proclaim the gospel, you find that His power at work through you is effective in even drive out demons. The disciples were certainly charged up about such, but Jesus reoriented their perspective a bit, much in the way He does with us through His Word today. What is it that is really worth being thrilled about? Pastor Daniel gives three reasons for true Christian excitement, reasons gleaned from the text at hand. 1) Rejoice that our sovereign God wrote your name in heaven. 2) Rejoice that our sovereign God revealed truth to you through His Son. 3) Rejoice that our sovereign God allowed you to witness the coming of His kingdom.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke058.mp3
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Lesson 59: My Neighbor, Compassion & Eternal Life (Luke 10:25-37)

“And who is my neighbor?” The lawyer in this story was, like so many of us, much more eager to justify himself than to humbly take in the words of Jesus and shift his focus and life accordingly. What does it look like to truly obey the most foundational instructions in God’s Word? Is it left up to interpretation or is it a mere matter of semantics? Jesus didn’t answer this with a quick sentence but with a story, the story we have come to know as “The Good Samaritan.” From this account, Daniel emphasizes the point that, “Impossible and extraordinary acts of compassion should be common place among those of us who have received eternal life.” By way of more specific application then, we should understand that the one who has eternal life 1) loves their neighbor, 2) has an unlimited concept of who their neighbor is, and 3) has a compassion that compels them to action.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke059.mp3
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Lesson 60: The Distracted Disciple (Luke 10:38-42)

You could probably feel the rising tension in the room. Martha, the one who had actually invited Jesus to come to her house, wanted to make everything perfect for Him while sister Mary seemed to hardly care what did and didn’t get done. It’s easy to imagine Martha darting in and out of the room Jesus and Mary are sitting in, trying each time to make eye contact with Mary so that she could at least give a quick head-jerk toward the kitchen. Was Martha the only one who knew how many important things needed to be taken care of? As Jesus then reoriented her thinking, ours likewise becomes reoriented if we are willing to apply Jesus’s words to our own hearts. Pastor Daniel shepherds his listeners through that in calling us to “relentlessly pursue fellowship with God through careful study of His Word. “ To get to that place, we first must understand that “the distracted disciple is distracted by good things.” He/she is furthermore “resentful of others.” Then, “the distracted disciple is anxious and troubled over many things,” and finally, “is drawn away from the abiding Word of God.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke060.mp3
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Lesson 61: The Disciples’ Prayer, Part I (Luke 11:1-4)

(Part I) There’s much more to Jesus’s “how to” of prayer than we might often give thought to. Great familiarity with the petition that begins with “Our Father who art in heaven,” might lead us to miss the weight of our Savior’s words, so it is a welcomed instruction that is gained when hearing Pastor Daniel slow down over the course of two sermons to unwrap the most popular prayer ever—The Lord’s Prayer or, just as accurately, The Disciples’ Prayer. From these messages, we are helped to see the importance of Praying to the One we call our Heavenly Father, challenged to pray for the exaltation of God’s glorious name, and confidently pray for God’s kingdom and His purposes to be established. Furthermore, the instruction is given to pray for our daily needs, to request forgiveness, and to ask God for deliverance, knowing that temptations abound. Through these messages, be encouraged in your dependence on the One who is faithful to hear and act as His people pray.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke061.mp3
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Lesson 62: The Disciples’ Prayer, Part II (Luke 11:1-4)

(Part II) There’s much more to Jesus’s “how to” of prayer than we might often give thought to. Great familiarity with the petition that begins with “Our Father who art in heaven,” might lead us to miss the weight of our Savior’s words, so it is a welcomed instruction that is gained when hearing Pastor Daniel slow down over the course of two sermons to unwrap the most popular prayer ever—The Lord’s Prayer or, just as accurately, The Disciples’ Prayer. From these messages, we are helped to see the importance of Praying to the One we call our Heavenly Father, challenged to pray for the exaltation of God’s glorious name, and confidently pray for God’s kingdom and His purposes to be established. Furthermore, the instruction is given to pray for our daily needs, to request forgiveness, and to ask God for deliverance, knowing that temptations abound. Through these messages, be encouraged in your dependence on the One who is faithful to hear and act as His people pray.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke062.mp3
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Lesson 63: Praying Shamelessly (Luke 11:5-13)

The importance of prayer is something that is clearly exemplified in the Scriptures. From the patriarchs to the apostles, spending time with God in this way has been a characteristic of the person of faith. After presenting His disciples with a model prayer, he then gave them a prayer-based illustration and exhortation. What we see in this story about a man waking his neighbor with a midnight request is a portrait of one who should boldly approach the throne of grace. Pastor Daniel first addresses in this message how it is that we should pray boldly, that we should do such with right motives and an understanding that we will receive only because of mercy. He then charges us to look at our generous Father as the one who is so much more amazing and kind than any earthly dad. He knows how to give gifts and only gives that which is good for His children.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke063.mp3
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Lesson 64: The Kingdom of God Has Come Upon You (Luke 11:14-23)

It is essentially impossible to have any significant knowledge of Jesus and be indifferent to Him. Who He was (is), what He stands for, and all that He said has from the beginning had a polarizing effect. Jesus, by His very nature, demands some kind of an honest response. Christ Himself attested to this by calling out those who wanted to explain Him away by saying, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons.” In this message, Pastor Daniel outlines for us the options that we have when encountering Jesus. We can 1) say that Christ is not establishing the kingdom of God, or 2) acknowledge that He is indeed establishing the kingdom of God. Through considering these options while exploring the text at hand, we are left with the concluding reality that “if the kingdom of God has come upon us, the only logical option is to participate in its establishment.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke064.mp3
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Lesson 65: Deadly Moralism (Luke 11:24-28)

There can be such great danger in apparent goodness! Jesus made clear time and again, whether He stated it explicitly or indirectly, that He was the only Way by which people could be saved. No other set of rules, philosophies, or approaches to living will bring us into true life and out of the clutches of darkness. This is the message that Pastor Daniel drives home through a look at Luke 11:24-28. While the religion of moralism might prove effective in certain areas of life for a time, it simply leaves the door wide open for that day of testing when the flesh will once again have its victory. Moralism will ultimately bring misery, whereas the gospel will bring great blessing. He concludes through emphasizing that, while the believer in Jesus will continue to wrestle with sin, he/she, through the power of the Spirit, will strive and yearn for victory.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke065.mp3
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Lesson 66: The Problem with Signs (Luke 11:29-32)

What’s so bad about wanting a sign from Jesus? Doesn’t it make sense to get a little authentication from someone when he’s making some pretty incredible claims? One thing we have to understand about Jesus is that He never came up short in His ministry or left things out. He has perfectly given us all that we needed. The big question for everyone who interacts with Him is, “What is it that you really want—Jesus Himself or something else?” This question is just as applicable for us today as it was for those in Jesus’s day. Pastor Daniel encourages his listeners to look at this text and be reminded that we are to pursue the person of Jesus Christ as we wrestle through uncertainties in life. He reminds us that, as we do such, 1) pursuing truth (as opposed to demanding signs) is not evil, 2) seeking signs is evil because it diminishes Christ instead of exalting Him, and 3) hearing the good news of Jesus Christ should result in worshipful repentance.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke066.mp3
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Lesson 67: How to Glow in the Dark (Luke 11:33-36)

Children in churches everywhere learn songs about having a light, being a light, and sharing their light; this passage likely gave inspiration toward those songs. Jesus used a practical illustration for the crowds that came to hear His teaching—“What do you do (and don’t do) with a lamp?” We still have the responsibility today to understand how to use the light (the truth) that Jesus delivered to His original audience. Pastor Daniel helps us further understand this lamp/light/truth illustration by breaking it down into the following instructions: 1) Find light in God’s Word. 2) Understand how truth is received. 3) Watch out for the dark. 4) Live fully in the light. These principles help us to walk in the light…or more colorfully, to glow in the dark.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke067.mp3
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Lesson 68: Am I a Pharisee? (Luke 11:37-40)

“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice” (Proverbs 21:3 ESV). This likely was not a favorite verse of many of the Pharisees of Jesus’s day, but, if we’re honest, many of us today might not like what it asks of us as well. In the text at hand, a Pharisee zeroed in on a rule that Jesus and his disciples did not keep (at least on this occasion): the washing of hands before a meal. Just like with anything, Jesus of course used this conversation to get to the bottom of the hearts of others. “What does it really mean to be clean?” He was asking. Pastor Daniel also asks a series of questions that help us to think through whether or not we resemble the Pharisees. 1) Do I focus on external conduct and ignore my need for God’s righteousness? 2) Do I concentrate on minutiae and neglect the “big things” of God? 4) Do I love the applause of men? 5) Do I appear to be alive but am really spiritually dead?

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke068.mp3
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Lesson 69: Am I a Lawyer? (Luke 11:45-54)

While lawyer jokes may abound in our day, and we mean them in good fun, the accusations Jesus brought against the lawyers who opposed His ministry gave no cause for laughing. This group was apparently listening in as Christ came down firmly on the Pharisees; they knew that the same message was meant to apply to them. Voicing such a concern, however, did not lessen the blow—if anything, it fueled Jesus’s righteous indignation all the more. As we look closely at this passage, we can follow along with the questions that Pastor Daniel asks, requesting that the Lord test our hearts to see if there are ways in which we resemble the group of lawyers Jesus addressed. He asks, 1) Are my expectations for others harsh and burdensome? 2) Are my spiritual forefathers prophet-killers? 3) Do I make it more difficult for people to know God? And finally, 4) Do I refuse to listen to biblical correction?

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke069.mp3
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Lesson 70: Fear of Man and Hypocrisy (Luke 12:1-3)

Is it possible to hide who you actually are and conceal what you do in secret? Do we ever truly get away with anything? But isn’t a bigger question, “Should I be living in such a way that I’m looking to hide at all?” Jesus regularly spoke against hypocrisy, the man-fearing sin of presenting yourself as something you really are not—this is the hiding (or covering up) that is so tempting to engage in. Pastor Daniel looks at the words of Christ in this passage and emphasizes the central point: “Hypocrisy is overcome when I replace my fear of man with a fear of God.” By keeping in view the following truths, we will be on our way to the freedom of righteous consistency between our hearts and our actions. 1) All things—good and bad—are going to be revealed. 2) Other people’s opinions are not going to last. 3) God is the one who will judge and reveal all things.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke070.mp3
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Lesson 71: Fear of Man and the Triune God, Part I (Luke 12:4-12)

(Part I) There are all kinds of things in this world that we could choose to be afraid of, but you don’t need to watch a scary movie or walk down a dark alley to have your fears informed. Perhaps the most pervasive fear, the fear of man, in all the various ways it manifests itself, seems to be hardwired into each person. Jesus, however, regularly helped to right the fears of His disciples, pointing them toward a reverent fear of God—a fear that was really rooted in their trust in Him to care for them throughout all of life’s circumstances. And that is the central message of this two-part message from Pastor Daniel: Fear of man can only exist where fear of God is weak. Having a right understanding then of the Triune God who is spoken of as all three persons in this text will help us to 1) Fear God the Father, 2) Confess Christ, and 3) Submit to the Holy Spirit.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke071.mp3
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Lesson 72: Fear of Man and the Triune God, Part II (Luke 12:4-12)

(Part II) There are all kinds of things in this world that we could choose to be afraid of, but you don’t need to watch a scary movie or walk down a dark alley to have your fears informed. Perhaps the most pervasive fear, the fear of man, in all the various ways it manifests itself, seems to be hardwired into each person. Jesus, however, regularly helped to right the fears of His disciples, pointing them toward a reverent fear of God—a fear that was really rooted in their trust in Him to care for them throughout all of life’s circumstances. And that is the central message of this two-part message from Pastor Daniel: Fear of man can only exist where fear of God is weak. Having a right understanding then of the Triune God who is spoken of as all three persons in this text will help us to 1) Fear God the Father, 2) Confess Christ, and 3) Submit to the Holy Spirit.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke072.mp3
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Lesson 73: A Fool and His Money (Luke 12:13-21)

“You can’t take it with you.” That familiar phrase is one that actually sums up fairly well this parable. It helps us to think about what we are focusing on and whether or not it is consistent with the eternal-mindedness Jesus instructs us to espouse. The man in this account who was interacting with Jesus had a complaint that he thought Jesus would be likely to help him with. Since Jesus was, after all, a big proponent of generosity and sharing, surely He would be able to help a guy out who wanted to see His brother learn such important lessons. Jesus did what He always did, however—He went straight for the heart and the idols beneath the request. Pastor Daniel brings out the truths of this text by emphasizing the main point, “Only a fool builds up his earthly portfolio at the expense of his heavenly one.” Understanding the multifaceted nature of wealth and how our hearts interact with it, the following truths are also laid down: 1) Your things are neither good nor evil. 2) You must guard against greed. 3) You must decide what to do with what you’ve been given. 4) You must be rich toward God and not lay up treasure for yourself.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke073.mp3
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Lesson 74: Anxiety and Living for the Kingdom (Luke 12:22-34)

Coexistence is not possible in every situation. People have made creative bumper stickers that seek to meld a number of religious symbols into one while also spelling with that melding the word “coexist.” If what is meant by such is, “live on the same planet,” then we’re in good shape, but usually what someone is trying to convey by a statement like this one is, “mind your own business and consider everyone’s points about everything equally valid.” This is an impossible mission. Worrying about life and trusting the Lord is equally impossible. Pastor Daniel illustrates this point in the sermon at hand. There are three reasons that he gives from the text for why we should NOT be anxious. 1) There is more to life than whatever it is you are worrying about. 2) God values you and knows your needs. 3) Worry cannot accomplish anything of value. But then there is also another charge in the text: it is imperative that we DO seek the kingdom of God. We can do such through letting go of this earthly kingdom, through providing for the needs of others, by resting in our secure/eternal investment, and by checking our hearts as we find our treasure.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke074.mp3
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Lesson 75: Waiting for the Master (Luke 12:35-48)

Be ready. Jesus used multiple illustrations to encourage His disciples to wait with eagerness for His return. We need regular reminders of coming events when we can’t set an alarm, put something on a calendar, or are expectant of the next normal step in a pattern of life. We’re like the boy in his pee-wee league out in right field. At some point, a ball is going to come his direction, but unless the dad in the stands or the coach in the dugout keeps yelling, “be ready!” that ball player is going to find something else to do. Pastor Daniel turns our attention to Jesus’s “be ready” words in this text, encouraging us to live lives of expectancy for our Lord’s return. He first reminds us that, “you are to be ready” for His returning. Next is the reiterating of the text that, “you do not know when your Master will return.” Finally, he states the fact that, “you demonstrate your readiness by your obedience.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke075.mp3
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Lesson 76: Christ Divides (Luke 12:49-53)

A few decades ago, there was a song that came out titled, “Jesus is My Friend.” It’s by many accounts an odd little tune that has become somewhat of an Internet sensation for precisely that reason. But in many ways it captures much of the wrong understanding of the mighty King, Jesus Christ, which the Bible shows us. Passages like this one highlight the silliness of the idea that we serve a soft Savior and remind us that the Lord was and is anything but a passive buddy. Pastor Daniel explains the controversial but true reality that one of the things Christ came to do was bring division. This division comes not because Jesus is against all forms of unity, but because, ultimately, everyone in the world stands on one of two sides of the gospel. This gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ who has come to save sinners and reconcile them to God, is a dividing message in that people will either believe it or not. It is a message of such power and consequence that those standing on either side of it actually live for opposing kingdoms.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke076.mp3
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Lesson 77: The Possibility and Practice of Discernment (Luke 12:54-59)

Can you know how to make wise decisions in life? Can you know whom to follow? These are important questions that are applicable to pretty well everyone each and every day. Jesus addressed the crowds concerning issues such as these and revealed to them their need to practice consistency in their daily discernment. He reminded them that they had little trouble making basic weather predictions, but at the same time they were not interpreting well the major things that we’re going on around them. Learning to correct this, he would emphasize, was something that they needed to grasp immediately. Pastor Daniel gives two simple instructions from the passage at hand: 1) Know what God wants you to do, and 2) Do it. Helping us to understand the danger of a life not centered on God’s revelation, the Bible, he challenges us to shape our lives by that Truth and not import the values of the culture around us.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke077.mp3
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Lesson 78: Responding to Tragedy (Luke 13:1-5)

It is very normal and natural for people to try and understand why certain terrible things happen at certain times to certain people while others are spared. Do some folks “have it coming” more than others? Is it all just a matter of coincidence? Does God have no control (or doesn’t care) about the difficulties that people experience in this world? These questions and more abound in people’s minds today just as they did in Jesus’s lifetime. Pastor Daniel provides helpful instructions from God’s Word for those who are wrestling with these questions. He begins by looking at the wrong responses people can have as they observe tragic events taking place. The first incorrect response is the conclusion that the recipients of tragedy were extra wicked and deserved their trouble. The second takes a position at the opposite extreme and declares that such awful events have no relationship with sin in the world whatsoever. What then is the right response? Jesus gives it to us: repent. “…All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) is true for everyone, leading us to hope in Christ today and have the promise of eternal salvation.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke078.mp3
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Lesson 79: The Patient Vinedresser (Luke 13:6-9)

Whenever a fruitless tree is spoken of in Scripture, the connotations are bad. Generally that tree is compared to a person or a group of people. However, in this instance, something is added to the negative connotation: patience. In this parable, both the owner of the vineyard and the vinedresser know that the fig tree is only using up the ground it is in, robbing nutrients from the soil without “giving back” anything in return. But the vinedresser asks for more time in order that he may invest further in the tree before it is cut down. Pastor Daniel walks us through what it looks like for a person to be that tree and how dependent he/she is upon the mercy of the vinedresser. He posits, “God patiently provides time to produce fruit.” With this truth in view, there are three applications he sets forward for our attention. 1) You should be producing fruit. 2) You should find a lack of fruit alarming. 3) You should take advantage of God’s mercy and patience toward you.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke079.mp3
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Lesson 80: Burdensome Religion (Luke 13:10-17)

Is it really possible that something God intended to bring life (and lead us to the Giver of life) could be so misused that the One who came to fulfill it all would be hated for the God-honoring good that He accomplished? Those who know anything of the gospel accounts will know that the answer to this is an obvious, “yes.” The Jewish leadership had become so consumed with their interpretation of the letter of the law that they preferred to see a woman suffer from demon oppression than have her healed with a word on the “wrong” day. Jesus challenged them to face the reality of their greater concern for beasts than for a daughter of Abraham. Pastor Daniel encourages us to look at this passage and see how, “False religion enslaves, [but] true religion frees.” The latter was perfectly exemplified by Christ and the former by the ruler of the synagogue. We are encouraged, therefore, to beware of the oppression of false religion and move ever more fully into worship of Jesus Christ.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke080.mp3
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Lesson 81: What is the Kingdom of God Like? (Luke 13:18-21)

Most of us feel pretty far removed from kingdoms with their castles, knights, and various nobility and class systems. So when Jesus begins talking about a kingdom, namely God’s kingdom, we may require immediate help in order to even grasp the kind of imagery such language is meant to invoke, let alone understand the meaning of the parables these words are in. Pastor Daniel takes us through this passage, helping us to better understand this kingdom language and how God’s kingdom can be compared to things such as grains of mustard seeds and leaven. He puts forth the central point that, “The kingdom of God is being established and growing even as we speak. What it looks like at the end isn’t what it looks like at the beginning.” And then, with a look at the parable of the mustard seed, he puts forward, “The kingdom of God is small then large.” And finally, concerning the leaven hidden in the flour, “The kingdom of God is hidden then pervasive.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke081.mp3
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Lesson 82: Bad News about the Kingdom (Luke 13:22-30)

Some of the answers that Jesus gave to questions about eternity had to leave people wishing that they had perhaps not thought to ask. While we’re always better off knowing the truth so that we can set our course according to the will of God, that sometimes means we have to face some chilling realities—statements from the King that remind us of our complete dependence upon Him for direction, grace, and mercy. Pastor Daniel brings one such difficult/warning truth before us as we open up again to Luke 13. He emphasizes, “The bad news about the kingdom of God is that you may be excluded from it…don’t be!” Echoing Jesus’s words, he makes the points that 1) You must strive to enter the kingdom, 2) Your time to enter the kingdom is limited, and 3) Your assumption that you are part of the kingdom may be wrong. The great news, however, is that people have the opportunity to be included in the kingdom of God through faith and repentance. There IS life available in Jesus’s name.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke082.mp3
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Lesson 83: Lamenting Jerusalem (Luke 13:31-35)

The singular focus of Jesus exemplifies for us a kind of purposefulness in life that we could only hope to imitate in some small measure. Death was both chasing Him and standing before Him as Herod sought His life and the religious leaders and fickle crowd in Jerusalem would soon call for the end of the same. With these things in mind, Jesus’s compassion is stunning. His longing to embrace and shelter Israel’s capital, in spite of her bloody history (and future), is positively stunning and challenging. Helping us to understand this, Pastor Daniel brings to light the following truths from this passage, emphasizing the central message, “The right way to respond to hostility is with compassion.” We find this to be the case in that 1) God does not allow opposition to His work to prevent its accomplishment, 2) God weeps over those who oppose Him, 3) God allows people to reject Him, and 4) God allows those who reject Him time to repent.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke083.mp3
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Lesson 84: The Demise of the Status Seeker (Luke 14:1-14)

How we prioritize our lives is closely related to how we view ourselves and treat those we share community with. Religious leaders were making it a priority to watch Jesus closely, not to learn from Him, but to try and catch Him in something that would incriminate Him according to their standards. And that was part of the problem at hand: what was immensely important to them was the standard they were setting (though they tried to pass it off as God’s law). These men had come to view themselves as the people everyone else should look to and give special honor to. Jesus expressed his disagreement in this passage in a number of ways. Daniel follows His explanation by illustrating how “the status-seeker pursues goals that exclude them from the kingdom of God.” It’s wrong, he maintains, to be a status seeker because, 1) Status seeking creates an ungodly ethical system, 2) Status seeking leads to an inflated sense of one’s own worth, and 3) Status seeking pursues relationship on the basis of self-interest.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke084.mp3
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Lesson 85: The Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24)

Though the church has had debates on the topic of what has been called “Lordship Salvation,” Jesus never seemed to have much trouble deciding whether or not people needed to be fully devoted God to be a part of His kingdom. His parable illustrated what is required of those who want to participate in this heavenly kingdom. Everyone had excuses for why they couldn’t commit themselves to the “great banquet;” every one of those excuses meant that none of those people would be able to have any part of what the master was offering. Pastor Daniel speaks to the truths in this text by explaining how “those who truly desire God attend the banquet.” Looking at the context that brought about the telling of this parable, he then pulls out the application points of 1) Don’t say silly things that are pleasant but untrue (things that detract from the hard truths people need that lead them to repentance and trust in Christ), 2) Realize that to desire the world is folly and an insult to God, and 3) Desire God and accept His gracious invitation.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke085.mp3
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Lesson 86: The Cost of Following Christ (Luke 14:25-35)

It’s hard to picture Jesus getting invited to a whole lot of marriage conferences or family seminars today; hating one’s family and self doesn’t seem to make the topic list very often. The same could be said of many Christian rallies or events banking on hype or energy to make it fly—crucifixion, rightly understood, doesn’t seem to get people jumping all that well. But Jesus wasn’t interested in getting invites to be the keynote speaker at such events. He needed people to know that there was nothing loose or empty about following Him; it would cost one everything. Pastor Daniel puts it this way: “The heart of the true disciple values Christ above all else.” In order to wholeheartedly follow Christ, we need to 1) Know the terms of discipleships, and 2) Determine whether He’s worth it.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke086.mp3
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Lesson 87: Loving the Lost, Part I (Luke 15:1-10)

(Part I) It’s easy to get comfortable as a Christian living in the developed and wealthy West. There are lots of opportunities to spend lots of time with other Christians as Christian groups fight for our religious freedoms and as we listen to Christian radio while driving to our favorite Christian bookstore. To be sure, many of these things are gifts from God, but did Jesus intend us to insulate ourselves to the point where all we feel is annoyed when non-Christian people do un-Christianly things in our presence? Pastor Daniel, in this two-part message, seeks to guide us toward Jesus’s heart for the lost. He emphasizes the great love that God has for the lost through a look at the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. In helping us to evaluate whether or not we have this kind of love, he encourages us to ask ourselves these questions: 1) Do I notice the lost? 2) Do I seek the lost? 3) Do I rejoice when the lost are found?

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke087.mp3
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Lesson 88: Loving the Lost, Part II (Luke 15:1-10)

(Part II) It’s easy to get comfortable as a Christian living in the developed and wealthy West. There are lots of opportunities to spend lots of time with other Christians as Christian groups fight for our religious freedoms and as we listen to Christian radio while driving to our favorite Christian bookstore. To be sure, many of these things are gifts from God, but did Jesus intend us to insulate ourselves to the point where all we feel is annoyed when non-Christian people do un-Christianly things in our presence? Pastor Daniel, in this two-part message, seeks to guide us toward Jesus’s heart for the lost. He emphasizes the great love that God has for the lost through a look at the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. In helping us to evaluate whether or not we have this kind of love, he encourages us to ask ourselves these questions: 1) Do I notice the lost? 2) Do I seek the lost? 3) Do I rejoice when the lost are found?

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke088.mp3
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Lesson 89: The Son Who Sinned (Luke 15:1-20)

Stories of repentance and restoration are so very much at the heart of what we love to hear in Christian circles—they stir our spirits, build our faith, and remind us that there is hope to be had in the midst of a world that often feels quite the opposite. But the reason we have such stories is because of the deep and dark reality of sin in all our lives before that light dawns. At the core, we’re not restored from or repent of mistakes, naughtiness, or hang-ups. Without Christ, we’re unrighteous people washed over with sin, unwilling and unable to be reconciled to God. It is the truth about the hopelessness of that state that makes this parable about the returning prodigal and his welcoming father so very glorious. Pastor Daniel, in looking at this text, highlights the nature of our need for hearts of true repentance by examining the reality of our sin, the result of our sin, and repentance from sin. This repentance is characterized by an intellectual recognition of sin, an emotional reaction against it, a decision to turn from the same, and then fruit that comes as a result of this turning.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke089.mp3
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Lesson 90: The Father Who Forgave (Luke 15:20b-24)

It’s tough to be a good dad, especially during those times when one’s children don’t seem all that concerned with being, well, good children. But what a picture of grace we see in the father who welcomes his wayward/prodigal son. This exuberant dad takes center stage and creates for us a picture of our heavenly Father loving the sinner who repents. The son is not able to even complete his journey or his rehearsed discourse because of this pursuing, forgiving father. We’re challenged once again in this message to join God in rejoicing when the lost repent. The next segment of this parable provides us with the opportunity to see the love of God in His work of reconciliation. It’s a love that the people of Jesus’s day would have seen as ridiculous and shameful; it’s a love that we cannot do without.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke090.mp3
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Lesson 91: The Son Who Seethed (Luke 15:25-32)

It’s always been the case that some people are good at looking like good people while others seem to wear their badness on their sleeves and so automatically get the label of “sinner.” But what is said of beauty could also be said of goodness—certain kinds of it are only skin deep. The older son of this story is the “good” one from the start. He plays by the rules outwardly and looks a lot different than the younger and rebellious brother. When the younger son turns around, however, we find out just how proud the good boy was of his goodness and how miffed he became when the repentant sinner came home. He was the son who, as Pastor Daniel puts it, “seethed.” Daniel takes note of the great irony we find in this story because “the son who stayed ends up more distant from the father than the son who strayed.” In this message, we see several signs that indicate the older brother is distant from the father—signs that force us to ask, “How am I like the older brother in this parable?”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke091.mp3
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Lesson 92: Shrewd Stewardship (Luke 16:1-13)

A rich man who commends his dishonest manager? Jesus always told parables in such a way that more was required of his listeners than just an appreciation for a nice story. In the present account, he puts before us a man who found himself in a desperate situation; he needed to do some really good planning pronto, or the rest of his days would be a mere matter of day to day survival. Jesus then uses this parable to call His disciples to faithfulness with all that God has entrusted to them in this short life. We, like the dishonest manager, find ourselves in a situation where we have to make decisions right here and now over what is truly more valuable; how then will we invest accordingly? Pastor Daniel helps us to transition this story into the kingdom focus Jesus was aiming at by emphasizing that we, “practice shrewd, God-centered stewardship.” He maintains that our use of material possessions 1) reveals our investment strategy, 2) reveals our ability to handle truly important things, and 3) reveals our master.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke092.mp3
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Lesson 93: God’s Unchanging Word (Luke 16:14-17)

The Pharisees were more trapped than they realized. The had set up a system wherein people looked to them for guidance and examples of what true piety was. But as Jesus spoke, they kept showing their true selves through the way they reacted to His teaching. More than that, their hearts were not invisible to God. And furthermore, the eternal Word of God would testify against them. In other words, in a couple short sentences, Jesus was making it clear how the deck was stacked against the Pharisees in every way. They, like us, needed to understand some core things about God and His Word. Pastor Daniel, emphasizing the central truth, “When your heart and His Word conflict, obey God,” makes these key points: 1) God’s Word is going to be distorted and rejected, 2) God’s Word calls us to abandon our own kingdom and enter His, and 3) God’s Word will always be authoritative for your life.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke093.mp3
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Lesson 94: God’s Design for Marriage and Sexuality (Luke 16:18, Genesis 2:18-25)

When marriage is brought up in the New Testament, the authors like to go back to Genesis 2. There’s a good reason for this. God’s design for marriage began there, with Adam and Eve, and the institution was never meant to move beyond the basics of what we see exemplified there in the garden. While people have pushed against this throughout every time period in history, and the push recently has only become more pronounced, the church would do well to agree with Jesus and the apostles instead of acquiescing to those bringing their revisions. Pastor Daniel takes us to this original marriage text by explaining how 1) marriage was designed by God, 2) marriage creates a unique relationship, and 3) marriage exists to glorify God.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke094.mp3
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Lesson 95: Idolatry and Immorality, Part I (Luke 16:18, Romans 1:16-32)

(Part I) Jesus’s one sentence on marriage and divorce in Luke 16:18 is grounded in so much more truth than He chose to share at that individual moment of teaching. Daniel brings further context to the topic through a look at Romans 1:16-32. The passage begins with a picture of great hope through the gospel and then explains why we need such a great hope by illustrating how mankind has chosen the path of degeneration through every form of idol worship. In this two-part sermon on this passage, Pastor Daniel emphasizes the central idea that “Your immorality began with your idolatry.” Coursing through the passage, two key points are highlighted. 1) Idolatry is rejecting God and worshipping ourselves, and 2) Immorality is the result of and God’s judgment on idolatry. Finally, he finishes the second sermon by returning to the beginning of the passage, maintaining that, “The gospel is God’s provision of righteousness for idolaters.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke095.mp3
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Lesson 96: Idolatry and Immorality, Part II (Luke 16:18, Romans 1:16-32)

(Part II) Jesus’s one sentence on marriage and divorce in Luke 16:18 is grounded in so much more truth than He chose to share at that individual moment of teaching. Daniel brings further context to the topic through a look at Romans 1:16-32. The passage begins with a picture of great hope through the gospel and then explains why we need such a great hope by illustrating how mankind has chosen the path of degeneration through every form of idol worship. In this two-part sermon on this passage, Pastor Daniel emphasizes the central idea that “Your immorality began with your idolatry.” Coursing through the passage, two key points are highlighted. 1) Idolatry is rejecting God and worshipping ourselves, and 2) Immorality is the result of and God’s judgment on idolatry. Finally, he finishes the second sermon by returning to the beginning of the passage, maintaining that, “The gospel is God’s provision of righteousness for idolaters.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke096.mp3
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Lesson 97: What God has Joined Together (Luke 16:18)

While continuing in this miniseries but turning once again more specifically to Luke 16:18, Pastor Daniel concludes by emphasizing throughout the sermon, “Marriage is a permanent, covenantal relationship…don’t divorce.” What the people of Jesus’s day were tempted to do is not all that different from what we attempt to accomplish today—find loopholes and the lowest expected standards and then pursue that path. Jesus, however, has always had so much more for us in marriage than this. Daniel speaks to people in a number of different life situations related to marriage, calling them to observe the same central principle just mentioned. He addresses 1) those who are not married, 2) those struggling in their marriages, 3) those who have decided to leave their marriage, 4) those who have been sinned against, and 5) those who have sinned by pursuing divorce.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke097.mp3
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Lesson 98: The Tragic End of Materialism (Luke 16:19-31)

The story Jesus told of the rich man (who goes unnamed) and the poor man named, “Lazarus,” gives us a chilling reminder of the shortness of this life’s present form and the consequences of our worship therein. It is so easy to get caught up trying to get ahead in the here and now, to live for what we choose to see, and to assume that tomorrow will simply be another day of the same. But Jesus presents us with a glimpse of the eternal state and the great divide that exists between those who live for separate kingdoms. Pastor Daniel encourages us in this message to think about our great need to “flee the materialism that abuses the poor and condemns your soul,” submitting to the Word of God and repenting of the areas of our life where materialism has taken hold.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke098.mp3
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Lesson 99: Pursuing Holiness in the Community of Faith (Luke 17:1-6)

There are a number of sweet moments in the gospels where you hear the disciples of Jesus really yearning for the right things, even when they might not know how/what exactly they are to pursue. As they listened to Him speak about sin, the dangers of causing others to sin, and offering forgiveness to those who do sin (even sin repeatedly!), they saw how far they were from where they needed to be and called out for an increase of faith. They had much to learn about what it meant to live in community with one another and found many of the teachings from their Lord a great challenge to obey. Pastor Daniel helps us, as fellow disciples today, understand the way forward in this through emphasizing the fact that the believer pursues holiness within the context of community; he then provides multiple ways for how to go about that pursuit.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke095.mp3http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke099.mp3
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Lesson 100: The Expectations of a Slave (Luke 17:7-10)

There has always been something in humanity that wants to kick against authority, and perhaps we desire that independence today more than ever. We are very tuned into our “rights,” and have sometimes turned equality into something that ends up confusing our ideas about roles, responsibilities, and just rewards. This transfers directly into how we interact with God and the ways in which we view His authority and our submission. Jesus corrects some of this wrong thinking and teaches us what our true place is as “unworthy servants” before our worthy and righteous God. Pastor Daniel encourages us to think through what are the wrong expectations of a slave and what are the correct ones. Wrong expectations include, 1) we should be served, and 2) we should be praised. Realistic expectations help us to grow in our understanding that 1) humility should be created within us, 2) obedience should increase, 3) we will be reminded of who we represent, 4) we should increase in faithfulness and perseverance, and 5) our self-perception will change.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke100.mp3
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Lesson 101: The Worship of a Grateful Heart (Luke 17:11-19)

From our earliest days, our parents may have taught us the etiquette of saying “thank you.” Whether someone passed us the mashed potatoes at the dinner table or we opened a gift of socks and underwear from great Aunt Nelma at Christmas, those words were to be our automatic response. But as we grow up, we learn that a thankful heart is something different than mere thank you words said out of politeness. The story of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed provide us with a prime example of what it looks like to have a worshipful, grateful heart to God…and what it looks like when such a heart is absent. Pastor Daniel explains what went on in the heart of the one leper who returned and what we should desire for own hearts as well: “Gratitude manifests itself in unrestrained worship of Jesus Christ.” This story teaches us to 1) cry out to Jesus, 2) see God in His grace, and 3) demonstrate gratitude through worship, not legalism.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke101.mp3
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Lesson 102: The Kingdom of God is Already Here (Luke 17:20-21)

Correct, reorient, refocus…repeat. It seems that much of Jesus’s ministry happened in this way. People had spent centuries forming their own ideas about what the future of Israel would look like. They had read the Scriptures, listened to their teachers, formed other documents to inform their doctrine, and then passed these things along to the generations following. Few people foresaw the kingdom of God advanced through a carpenter from Nazareth. Pastor Daniel walks us through these verses, making the central point, “Recognize and enter the kingdom of God through faith in Jesus Christ.” He examines the challenge that came from the Pharisees, how Jesus identified their wrong understanding, and how He then corrected their wrong understanding. The kingdom was physically nearer to them than they ever would have imagined. It is near to us today as well, and we must be careful not to miss it.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke102.mp3
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Lesson 103: The Kingdom is Not Yet Here (Luke 17:22-37)

It’s clear from Scripture that Christians are meant to anticipate with eagerness the return of Jesus. But then there are cautions that we are given to help us be on guard against any kind of false appearance that people will be tempted to fixate on. In the end though, just as the disciples would know the voice of their Master, so they would recognize the authentic second coming of Jesus. Pastor Daniel encourages his listeners to consider that, “forsaking life now is essential preparation for future kingdom life.” Presenting five key words for us to hang our thoughts on as we think about the coming of the kingdom, he challenges us to consider 1) the future, 2) the visible nature of Christ’s return, 3) the rejection that Jesus endures first, 4) the suddenness of His coming, and 5) the destructive nature of His arrival. We are to consider these things and then prepare for the coming kingdom through clinging to Christ and dying to self.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke103.mp3
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Lesson 104: How to Wait on the Kingdom (Luke 18:1-8)

God answers prayer. That is a truth something that every children’s biblical Sunday School curriculum will include. But what kind of a God is it that answers our prayers? Is he like a judge who just wishes we would go away so that he ends up giving us what we want? Is the point of his parable that we should be like a widow asking the same thing until God hears? Pastor Daniel walks us through this passage, encouraging us that “as we wait in this kingdom for the future kingdom, [we can] persevere and pray because we have a God who cares and acts.” The application then comes in two forms through commentary on verse 8. 1) Continually hope in God’s righteous love for His glory and concern for you, and 2) Demonstrate your hope through persistent prayer.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke104.mp3
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Lesson 105: Two Prayers, Two Paths to God (Luke 18:9-14)

Two men tell two very different stories in this account. One man, the Pharisee, looks heavenward in prayer while basing his standard of righteousness on horizontal comparisons. The second man, a tax collector, turned his eyes down in prayer but sent his heart heavenward in a plea for mercy from the true Judge. The latter was the only one found acceptable in God’s sight. Daniel helps us to think through this parable from Jesus by challenging us to, “decide whether your relationship with God will depend upon your works or His mercy.” Are our works self-righteous in nature or is our life characterized by God-exalting humility?

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke105.mp3
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Lesson 106: Let the Little Children Come (Luke 18:15-17)

Jesus’s disciples were always feeling their way along as His companions. It’s likely that there were times where they helped their Master through a crowd when He intended to find a quiet place for a period. We know from Scriptural record that at times they were even tasked with reserving a room for a meal together. In all likelihood they were just trying to do something similar here—make Jesus’s job simpler. But they missed it on this occasion. The Lord saw them shooing away the people who wanted to bring their little ones before Him, and He would have none of it. In this message, Pastor Daniel picks up on Jesus’s intense valuing of children and walks through how, today, we should be bringing them to Him. 1) Believe children are a blessing, not a burden. 2) Proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to children in both word and deed. 3) Refuse to child-proof the church.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke106.mp3
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Lesson 107: A Shocking Explanation of the Gospel (Luke 18:18-30)

Nobody could expose an idolatrous heart as quickly as Jesus could. Here was a man who seemed to be asking a lot of the right questions. He wasn’t trying to avoid God or live his life in as pagan a way as he could get by with. He didn’t come to Jesus with a request for power, prestige, or three magical wishes. His request was for the path to eternal life. But the ultimate answer he received was the one answer that he couldn’t bear to hear; it was the one answer that ultimately sent him packing with a dejected look on his face. Jesus had hit on this man’s idol, and He knows today what our hearts most long for as well. Pastor Daniel calls people to follow Jesus with their whole hearts by stating, “the shocking truth of the gospel is that we must treasure Jesus Christ in order to be saved.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke107.mp3
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Lesson 108: What the Blind Man Saw (Luke 18:31-43)

It’s helpful that we have multiple definitions for “sight/seeing” when we come to passages like this one. The irony is rich as we observe the disciples (all of whom we assume had acceptable vision in the physical sense) experience an inability to “see” a spiritual reality as they walked along with Jesus. Just after this though, Luke records the story of a blind beggar who saw more about the reality of Jesus than scores of people in the crowds around the Messiah ever would. Pastor Daniel explains, “Scripture gives us sight so we can see the salvation that comes through the Savior.” The “seeing” disciples simply couldn’t imagine a dishonored King, while the blind man saw the Son of David and would not stop crying out to Him until Jesus drew near to where he was seated. He was looking through the lens of Scripture in order to understand who Jesus was and saw clearly even before his eyes were healed.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke108.mp3
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Lesson 109: Zacchaeus-- The Seeker Who was Sought (Luke 19:1-10)

It probably wasn’t easy being Zacchaeus. Even today, we’ve pretty much emasculated the guy through teaching our kids to sing about him being a “wee little man.” It may have been hard for him to get noticed, so he made his mark by taking advantage of his own people through rising to the low position of chief tax collector. But apparently, even having grown rich through his shady profession, he knew there was more to be had than money. This pull in his heart made catching a glimpse of Jesus worth climbing a tree like a child. Through this account Pastor Daniel challenges us to 1) Be encouraged as you seek God, 2) Don’t make excuses for rebellion, 3) Use dissatisfaction with life wisely, 4) Truly repent, 5) Trust in Christ, and 6) Gain assurance.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke109.mp3
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Lesson 110: Faithful Servants (Luke 19:11-27)

Some of Jesus’s most engaging parables are the ones that end up taking twists we simply wouldn’t have anticipated. As a matter of fact, in the text at hand, even the people in the parable are astounded over the way events play out! Jesus used an occasion of a journey to Jerusalem (his final journey there) to tell a story that would later help his followers better understand the nature of God’s kingdom—a story that called them to be faithful stewards of what He had entrusted to them. Pastor Daniel emphasizes the central point when looking at the this text, stating, “as we wait for our Master’s return, our love for Him is revealed by our obedience to His commandments.” He defines a faithful servant as one who joyfully does the work the Master has given to him and a wicked servant as the person who finds excuses to justify his disobedience to the Master. But concerning the final group of people in the story, the enemies, he maintains that we are much the same as them if we openly oppose the Master’s rule.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke110.mp3
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Lesson 111: The King Will Be Glorified (Luke 19:28-40)

No entry into Jerusalem has ever been so significant as the “triumphal entry” by Jesus. People were ecstatic over His arrival, but this excitement would be unbelievably short-lived. Observing His interaction with the Pharisees, we catch just a glimpse in this passage of how things would soon go down, but for the time being there was much celebration to be had. Reminding us that regardless of every attitude and what each of these people (and all people throughout history) would do in days to come, Pastor Daniel helps us see from this text that, “you will proclaim the glory of God either willingly or unwillingly—do so willingly.” Three key points are emphasized in this message: 1) The King owns all and will exercise authority over all—give it to Him now. 2) The King will establish Himself on His throne—submit to Him now. 3) The King will be glorified by your life—worship Him now.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke111.mp3
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Lesson 112: Why Missions Demands Weeping (Luke 19:41-44)

No one has ever wept as Jesus has wept. We can say this with confidence because we know that He, being perfect and omniscient, knew both what to weep over and everything that fed into a situation making it weep-worthy. We must take pause then whenever we see Jesus break down in tears as He does in this passage. What was grieving His heart? What do we need to learn about our responsibility to be broken over situations like this as well? Pastor Daniel helps us to look at this passage through the appropriate context of missions, making the main point that, “biblical engagement in missions requires weeping. It begins with weeping, endures with weeping, and concludes with weeping.” To guide our thinking in this, three questions are put forward. 1) Why do we weep? 2) What do we weep about? 3) How do we respond to weeping?

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke112.mp3
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Lesson 113: The Nature of True Spiritual Authority (Luke 19:45-20:8)

All throughout the account of Jesus’s ministry, a reader is able to see the fact that His leadership is very different from the standard leaders of the day. But as the Lord took his final journey into Jerusalem, it seemed like the tension between He and the religious leaders began to build like never before. They wanted Him to silence those giving praise to Him as the coming Messiah, He upset the financial dealings in the temple, and He refused to give a direct answer to those seeking proof of His authority. Even for the one whose only acquaintance with the Bible was a reading of Luke’s gospel up to this point, it would seem like something had to give. But even in the midst of this tension, the instruction we receive from Jesus’s words and life are ones we must give careful attention to. Pastor Daniel helps us to understand what those lessons are as he emphasizes that, “true spiritual authority comes from God and exalts God as it is exercised.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke113.mp3
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Lesson 114: A History of Rejection (Luke 20:9-18)

History class has a bad reputation. Perhaps if many teachers taught the subject a little more like Jesus, some of that reputation could be reversed. The history lesson that he gave to those gathered around Him certainly had people engaged, especially since it was an account of their own history. One thing that seems pretty certain was that, unlike the stereotypical high school class of today, the students got it—their reaction told it all. They found themselves at a crossroads where they were going to have to decide what they would do with the Messiah. Pastor Daniel explains this crucial moment in speaking of how Jesus was going to be either their “cornerstone or crushing stone” and how we face the same decision today. Through looking at “the parable and Israel’s past,” followed by “the parable and Israel’s present,” leading to “the parable and Israel’s future,” we learn about the reality that everyone finds themselves in: Jesus is Lord of all and should be the cornerstone of our lives.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke114.mp3
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Lesson 115: Rendering Unto God (Luke 20:19-26)

The scribes and the chief priests had another angle to try with Jesus—send in some spies who would act as if they were sincere, hoping to trap Him in His words. But once again, their loss became our gain as Jesus used their questions about taxes to help us understand what our relationship with the earthly government should look like. To pay or not to pay, that was the question. Pastor Daniel helps us to rethink what exactly was happening and how we need to rightly orient our own hearts through emphasizing, “give everything you are to God, pursue His kingdom, and let Caesar have his stuff.” Dispelling five false premises concerning what it means to “render to God,” he encourages us to worship the Lord with a right perspective on what it means to live as godly citizens under an imperfect government.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke115.mp3
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Lesson 116: The Trap of the Intellectual (Luke 20:27-40)

The Sadducees were in a sorry state on a couple of different levels. Because they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, they had no hope of anything to come. And because they trusted so much in their own tactics for bringing Jesus down, they ended up doubly humiliated—they couldn’t match Jesus’s reasoning abilities and were trying to topple Someone who would only come to His end through His own design. Though they denied the resurrection, they professed believe in one who held it to be true (Moses). Jesus exposed that very error, bringing them to the place of silence before Him. In looking at this text, Pastor Daniel poses the question, “Will my worship of my own intellect prevent me from knowing God?” He then charges the listener to “escape the trap of intellectual arrogance.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke116.mp3
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Lesson 117: How Can He Be Lord? (Luke 20:41-44)

Normally, as the religious elite of Christ’s day interacted with Him, they asked questions in hope of trapping in something He said. But He had an occasional question of His own to bring before them, and this was one of those times. “How is the Lord/Christ David’s son?” he asked upon quoting Psalm 110:1. Time and again, Jesus pressed into the preconceived ideas people had about the Messiah. It wasn’t just that they needed to believe in Him as that One who had come; they had to back up to the point of even understanding who He was and how God moved through history long before engaging them face to face through His Son. This was one such occasion. Pastor Daniel seeks to draw out the truths from this passage by asking some questions of his own and then challenging us to 1) Think deeply, 2) Think Biblically, and 3) Think radically.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke117.mp3
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Lesson 118: Abusive Church Leadership, Part I (Luke 20:45-21:4)

(Part I) Here and there Jesus gave us real-life examples of how things work in God’s economy. He brought low the proud and exalted the humble, much to the dismay of those enjoying their places of honor on pedestals of false piety. A poor widow was more generous than the rich of society? An elaborate praying scribe keeping his place even though he would eagerly devour such a widow’s house? What kind of a leader does that?! “An abusive one,” is Pastor Daniel’s answer. Challenging believers to think carefully about those they look to for direction, he calls them to “follow those who are sacrificially following Christ.” Offering a number of characteristics of abusive leaders and explaining why such people are dangerous in more ways than one, we are encouraged to put our hope in the Lord and keep our eyes on those who want to lead us in the same.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke118.mp3
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Lesson 119: Abusive Church Leadership, Part II: How Should I Give? (Luke 20:45-21:4)

(Part II) Through this passage, we are confronted with principles about both leadership and stewardship. In the first of three messages covering this text, pastor Daniel provided warning to the church concerning abusive spiritual authority figures. In these last two expositions, we are helped to think rightly about how to use the money that God has entrusted to us. If we are wealthy, should we become like the widow? Is the poor widow in the story the example everyone should follow in how they approach giving? Where should I be giving the money that I know I should be generous with? Such questions are looked at and helpful principles set forth to help us better understand what it means for Christians to be financially faithful.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke119.mp3
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Lesson 120: Abusive Church Leadership, Part III: How Should I Give? (Luke 20:45-21:4, 2 Cor. 8-9)

(Part III) Through this passage, we are confronted with principles about both leadership and stewardship. In the first of three messages covering this text, pastor Daniel provided warning to the church concerning abusive spiritual authority figures. In these last two expositions, we are helped to think rightly about how to use the money that God has entrusted to us. If we are wealthy, should we become like the widow? Is the poor widow in the story the example everyone should follow in how they approach giving? Where should I be giving the money that I know I should be generous with? Such questions are looked at and helpful principles set forth to help us better understand what it means for Christians to be financially faithful.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke120.mp3
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Lesson 121: What not to do when it seems like the end of the world but isn’t, Part I (Luke 21:5-24)

(Part I) Literature about the end of the world has often done well in the bookstores. There’s a kind of intrigue we have over the mystery of whether or not tragedy will strike when we least expect it or if there are perhaps signs that are leading up to an apocalypse. Jesus’s disciples might have been interested in such books since we see them asking Him for clarification regarding similar matters. They likely thought that if anyone would have insight in this area, certainly it would be Him. Pastor Daniel helps us enter into this text by reminding us that “whether your world is crumbling or the entire cosmos is coming to an end, God’s kingdom still stands—act accordingly.” What should we not do when we falsely assume that it’s the end of the word? 1) Don’t be led astray. 2) Don’t be terrified by social upheavals. 3) Don’t be surprised by natural disasters. 4) Don’t wilt when persecuted.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke121.mp3
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Lesson 122: What not to do when it seems like the end of the world but isn’t, Part II (Luke 21:12-24)

(Part II) People have a wide range of responses to end-times prophesy. Some might experience fear, others contemplation, perhaps intrigue, or there are those who might even try to exploit or capitalize on those very things that other people are feeling. When Jesus talked about this topic, He provided both information and instruction. In other words, He told us not only about some of the things that would lead up to the end of the age, but also about how we should process those facts and prepare for the things that will accompany them. In a second look at the text at hand, Pastor Daniel takes us through Christ’s words and encourages us to remember that “whether the entire cosmos is coming to an end or your individual world is crumbling, God’s kingdom stands—act accordingly. Prepare to persevere during persecution.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke122.mp3
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Lesson 123: Living in Light of the Future, Part I (Luke 21:25-38)

(Part I) There are many events that enter our lives unexpectedly—things that we couldn’t have perfectly prepared for. The whole world experiences this on a global scale sometimes, and while we can try to do a good job of working together and putting safeguards in place, our control is unbelievably limited. The best minds can put forth their best efforts, but God can and does introduce circumstances that catch us off guard. Jesus continued speaking about the challenges to come upon the people of Israel and also about what would happen to the entire world in the last days. Though we don’t get all the details, what is clear from Him is that the end will come and we need to be prepared in a way that assures our steadfast focus on Him through it all. Pastor Daniel helps us think through some of the realities of coming events by putting before us three facts about the future we observe in this text. 1) The times of the Gentiles will not last forever. 2) The return of Christ will be marked by distress and fear. 3) God’s Word will be fulfilled as His kingdom is established.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke123.mp3
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Lesson 124: Living in Light of the Future, Part II: Watch Yourselves (Luke 21:34-38)

(Part II) When speaking of someone we’re a bit leery of, we might say something like, “You’ve got to watch that one.” But the truth is that each of us would benefit a great deal from looking in the mirror and making the same statement. Jesus instructs us to do just that in the present text as he concludes his discourse on the end of the age. “Watch yourselves,” is what he urges each individual to do as he/she considers the coming day of the Lord. The distractions we have to contend with are great as we consider the many cares of this world to get caught up in and the apparent slowness of God to fulfill his work on earth. Keeping our focus fixed in the right place and on the right Person is essential. Pastor Daniel encourages us to look at our lives and ask the question, “Am I unprepared or prepared to meet Christ?” Prayer, he maintains (through looking at verse 36 in context), is what prepares us to endure in faith until we meet our Lord.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke124.mp3
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Lesson 125: Confronting Humanity’s Greatest Sin (Luke 22:1-23)

Jesus had taken His final trip to Jerusalem and the Passover was near. What He had come to earth to accomplish was soon to be revealed at a whole new level. But how would this come about? Clearly, Jesus had plenty of enemies, but time and again those religious authorities that sought Him were “outsiders” to His ministry and hit roadblock after roadblock. But what if there was a turncoat within His circle? But then what would cause such a person to even do such an unthinkable thing as betray Jesus? Pastor Daniel takes us through this pivotal time in the ministry of Jesus as presents the truth that, “The pull to evil is great and only the one who is sovereign over even great sins can rescue us from evil.” Through a look at the characters of the world, the devil, the self, and the Lord, Daniel challenges us to recognize our own capability to walk in evil ways and that God is sovereign over sin and can deliver us from it.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke125.mp3
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Lesson 126: Celebrating the Lord’s Supper, Part I (Luke 22:7-23)

Every Christian carries with him/her an idea of what the Lord’s Supper is to look like. How somber should we be? Should it have a ritualistic feel to it? How often should it be observed? How closely do our elements need to resemble the 1st century bread and wine? It can be refreshing and necessary to take a look at what this time together meant for Jesus and His disciples. Pastor Daniel gives us a fresh look through examining Luke 22, pulling in some of the history of the Passover and helping us to think about what it means for Christians to worship God through the Lord’s Supper within that broader context of our Lord’s plan for humanity. He maintains the central point of, “As the community of faith participates in the Lord’s Supper, we celebrate God’s redemptive work in the past and yearn for its fulfillment in the future.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke126.mp3
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Lesson 127: Celebrating the Lord’s Supper, Part II (Luke 22:7-23)

(Part II) In part 2 of this message, Pastor Daniel continues to discuss the Lord’s Supper and why it is important for Christians today. He continues to work from the central point of, “As the community of faith participates in the Lord’s Supper, we celebrate God’s redemptive work in the past and yearn for its fulfillment in the future.” Examining misconceptions such as, “The atmosphere of the Lord’s Supper must be like a contemplative funeral service,” he takes us to the text to help aright our thinking about this very important activity that is for every member of the body of Christ. In wrapping up this 2-part message, we are asked to consider a number of suggestions detailing how we can strive to grow in our practice of this participation in the body and blood of the Lord Jesus.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke127.mp3
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Lesson 128: How Easter Helps Us Think Rightly About Everything (Luke 22:24-30)

We have books today helping us to think rightly about living in light of what is to come, focusing on eternity instead of trying to build our kingdoms here. But this is not a modern idea. Jesus gave His disciples very straightforward instructions about how to live with an eye toward the future when they would be with Him, particularly as it applied to how they were to do relationships. But all of this would only matter to them because there would be a future…because there would be a resurrection. Pastor Daniel maintains the central point in this message delivered on Easter Sunday that, “The resurrection is the key event in human history that is the basis by which we understand every other event in the universe.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke128.mp3
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Lesson 129: The Hour of Darkness, Part I (Luke 22:31-53)

(Part II) Jesus’ life had led up to a single dark moment, a time when He seemed to feel most keenly the pain of His humanity as he anticipated the cross and the accompanying separation from the Father—this had never happened in all history or even before there was a history. Certainly, if there ever was a moment of ultimate chaos and uncertainty, this was the time. But as a matter of fact, God’s power and purpose shines through this account with intensity. In this three-part message over the text at hand, Pastor Daniel points to this dichotomy by stating, “In the hour of darkness, you are powerless, but the God who loves you is not.” He encourages us to 1) Understand that the trials in your life are spiritual in nature and you are inadequate to overcome them, 2) Rely on the grace of the God who works all things for your good, and 3) Accept that evil will triumph temporarily.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke129.mp3
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Lesson 130: The Hour of Darkness, Part II (Luke 22:31-53)

(Part II) Jesus’ life had led up to a single dark moment, a time when He seemed to feel most keenly the pain of His humanity as he anticipated the cross and the accompanying separation from the Father—this had never happened in all history or even before there was a history. Certainly, if there ever was a moment of ultimate chaos and uncertainty, this was the time. But as a matter of fact, God’s power and purpose shines through this account with intensity. In this three-part message over the text at hand, Pastor Daniel points to this dichotomy by stating, “In the hour of darkness, you are powerless, but the God who loves you is not.” He encourages us to 1) Understand that the trials in your life are spiritual in nature and you are inadequate to overcome them, 2) Rely on the grace of the God who works all things for your good, and 3) Accept that evil will triumph temporarily.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke130.mp3
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Lesson 131: The Hour of Darkness, Part III (Luke 22:31-53)

(Part III) Jesus’ life had led up to a single dark moment, a time when He seemed to feel most keenly the pain of His humanity as he anticipated the cross and the accompanying separation from the Father—this had never happened in all history or even before there was a history. Certainly, if there ever was a moment of ultimate chaos and uncertainty, this was the time. But as a matter of fact, God’s power and purpose shines through this account with intensity. In this three-part message over the text at hand, Pastor Daniel points to this dichotomy by stating, “In the hour of darkness, you are powerless, but the God who loves you is not.” He encourages us to 1) Understand that the trials in your life are spiritual in nature and you are inadequate to overcome them, 2) Rely on the grace of the God who works all things for your good, and 3) Accept that evil will triumph temporarily.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke131.mp3
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Lesson 132: How Can a Disciple Sin? (Luke 22:54-62)

None of the apostles come across as a greater picture of contrasts than Peter. He was recklessly brave at one moment and completely avoidant the next. His words would be spot on only to be followed up with satanic speech. He would promise everything to Jesus only to deny him a few hours later. And that is where we find Peter in this passage. It’s abundantly clear from the Scriptures that he was a true follower of the Lord, and yet we see him repeatedly disassociating himself from the One who was about to give His life for him. How is it that he could still be counted a genuine disciple? Pastor Daniel explains how the life of a believer is not a perfect straight line, though it is likewise not aimless. He maintains, “A believer does not surrender in the war against sin because Christ does not let him or her. A believer continues to pursue Christ.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke132.mp3
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Lesson 133: Rejecting the King of Kings, Part I (Luke 22:63-23:25)

(Part I) The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had finally gotten their hands on the One who had caused them so much trouble. He who had pointed out their hypocrisy, taught the Word with authority, and generated great amounts of interest among the people was in their custody. Pastor Daniel looks specifically at the remainder of chapter 22 in this portion of his three-part message leading up to the crucifixion, emphasizing, “The only logical, reasonable response to Jesus Christ is to enthrone Him as King.” This is largely comprehended through the exchange that Jesus has with the Jewish Council. Daniel points out how Jesus highlights their 1) Determined resistance—they wouldn’t believe, 2) Determined ignorance—they wouldn’t answer, and 3) Inevitable revelation—they would see.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke133.mp3
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Lesson 134: Rejecting the King of Kings, Part II (Luke 22:63-23:25)

(Part II) In part 2 of this section leading to the crucifixion of Jesus, we are given the details concerning the arrogant rejection of Christ by the government officials, Pilate and Herod. While both seem a bit confused over the matter at hand, neither of them is willing to look carefully at the situation and operate with wisdom or integrity. Honing in especially on verses 8-12 of Luke 23, Pastor Daniel puts emphasis on the point that, “Mockery blinds us to our need to repent and worship Christ as we exalt ourselves and demean others.” But how is it that we arrive at that point of truly falling into such a category? He outlines a three step progression toward this sad state for an individual. 1) It begins with arrogant expectations. 2) One becomes jaded when expectations are not met. 3) One becomes a mocker.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke134.mp3
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Lesson 135: Rejecting the King of Kings, Part III (Luke 22:63-23:25)

When looking at the crucifixion story, it’s impossible to say what single person is to be held most responsible for sending Jesus to the cross. We of course only ask the question while understanding God’s sovereign hand in the whole ordeal, but when it comes to sinful human beings, we see that in reality there are a number of people directly complicit in His death, each sinning in different ways to bring about the event. Pilate was one such person, and we might say that he participated through acting out of his own sinful heart of cowardice. “This heart,” pastor Daniel maintains, “rejects the kingship of Jesus Christ because the cost of following Christ is too high.” Concluding, he then emphasizes, “You must choose between cowardly clinging to the world and courageously committing to Christ.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke135.mp3
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Lesson 136: The Cross and the Daughters of Jerusalem (Luke 23:26-31)

We wouldn’t normally think that someone walking to his death would show a great desire to have others at the forefront of his mind, but Jesus never exactly conformed to what we would call “normal.” As Christ proceeded to Calvary, the women He addressed were lovingly told that they needed a new perspective. They had to understand that their weeping should to be reserved for something else. There are two specific things that Pastor Daniel encourages us to consider as we think about the cross in light of this text. “First, it is easy to misunderstand the message of the cross.” Many have great misconceptions about why the event even took place at all. “Second, the cross is where God punished our sins and reconciled us to Himself.” Both the daughters of Jerusalem and each of us today must begin to grasp the weight of this event in history and personally respond to it in an appropriate manner.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke136.mp3
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Lesson 137: The Cross and the Criminals (Luke 23:32-43)

We have two statements made by Jesus in this passage, one to those who set themselves as His enemies and the other to one who sought His friendship. Both sentences are equally gracious. He longed that all of them would know the Father’s forgiveness, and He looked forward to being in Paradise that same day with His newest disciple. This criminal-turned-friend-of-Jesus was at the most desperate moment that he had ever encountered, and he stood in stark contrast from the criminal on Jesus’s other side. One cried out for a Savior; the other spat out a mocking demand. Both would die that day, but only one (as far as what we can tell) would be freed from his torment. And this freedom came because, as Pastor Daniel puts it, “Affliction can be a tool that God uses to shatter our pride, then see our need, repent of our sins, and believe the Gospel.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke137.mp3
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Lesson 138: The Cross and the Love of God (Luke 23:44-49)

In the history of the world, there are two key times when the very fabric of creation has been shaken because of the life choices of one man. Adam’s sin brought a groaning to the world that has been felt by every human since, and Jesus dealing with the sin of mankind on the cross brought about a period of physical darkness and spiritual light as the temple’s curtain was torn and people’s hearts were overwhelmed. Jesus had done what He had been sent to do, and the world would never be the same. Pastor Daniel speaks to the amazing work of Christ in this passage though communicating the central idea, “Believers cannot look at the cross (atonement) without 1) knowing they are loved and 2) being changed as a result of that knowledge.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke138.mp3
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Lesson 139: The Darkness of the Tomb (Luke 23:50-56)

Following the crucifixion, Jesus would remain silent until the 3rd day in order to fulfill the Scriptures. But even in Jesus’s silence, God was still working out His plan through a few humble servants to make way for the glorious resurrection. A righteous member of the council and the women who had been ever faithful to the Lord, worked to quietly care for the body of the One that they had put all their hope in. But the Sabbath had to take place in the middle of that care; Jesus’s body would rest quietly as these disciples also took their rest, clueless as to what was about to take place. They didn’t know what was coming and yet they were faithful to do the things in that hour that showed their devotion. Pastor Daniel highlights this and applies it to the present day by stating, “Even in dark times, disciples continue to love. Even in the darkness of the tomb, we follow the Light.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke139.mp3
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Lesson 140: The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus (Luke 24:1-12)

Having observed the Sabbath, the women who loved Jesus were eager to express that love through caring for His body. But they found that their eagerness was outmatched by that of their Lord; arriving at the tomb “at early dawn” was simply too late. Having received instructions from the shining messengers who announced to them Christ’s resurrection, their eagerness to tend to the dead was now replaced by urgency to tell the story of life! While the apostles would come along gradually in their acceptance of this, the fullness of the gospel message they would soon give everything to proclaim was being revealed. As we observe how the earliest followers of Jesus processed all that was happening with the empty tomb, Pastor Daniel brings the situation to our day and challenges us to “Believe the testimony of God concerning the resurrection of His Son and live it out.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke140.mp3
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Lesson 141: Proclaiming Christ in All of Scripture, Part I (Luke 24:13-35)

(Part I) Jesus’s ministry was full of teaching, explaining, and fulfilling prophecy. But after His resurrection and before many believed that He had indeed risen, Jesus seized a unique opportunity to speak incognito to a couple of His disciples about a very important truth: the Old Testament was full of Him. This was one of the final lessons that His followers needed to understand before He ascended to heaven. It was deemed essential that they get a better grasp on what it would mean to preach the Word in all the days following. In this two-part message over Luke 24:13-35, Pastor Daniel emphasizes some foundational truths about proclaiming Christ through preaching. 1) The purpose of preaching is to proclaim Christ. 2) The task of preaching is to explain and apply Scripture. 3) The subject of preaching is Jesus Christ. 4) The fruit of preaching is conviction, then life change.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke141.mp3
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Lesson 142: Proclaiming Christ in All of Scripture, Part II (Luke 24:13-35)

(Part II) Jesus’s ministry was full of teaching, explaining, and fulfilling prophecy. But after His resurrection and before many believed that He had indeed risen, Jesus seized a unique opportunity to speak incognito to a couple of His disciples about a very important truth: the Old Testament was full of Him. This was one of the final lessons that His followers needed to understand before He ascended to heaven. It was deemed essential that they get a better grasp on what it would mean to preach the Word in all the days following. In this two-part message over Luke 24:13-35, Pastor Daniel emphasizes some foundational truths about proclaiming Christ through preaching. 1) The purpose of preaching is to proclaim Christ. 2) The task of preaching is to explain and apply Scripture. 3) The subject of preaching is Jesus Christ. 4) The fruit of preaching is conviction, then life change.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke142.mp3
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Lesson 143: The Risen Lord Eats (Luke 24:36-43)

When the unbelievable happens, our minds rush for an explanation. We have been created as rational beings, so this is understandable and in most instances very helpful. But sometimes we need our minds blown in order to see that there are realities beyond normal, earthly explanation. Jesus did just that with His disciples. It was easier for them to believe that their Lord was actually some kind of disembodied spirit than a true, living, breathing human…a human they could touch and a human who ate fish. Pastor Daniel comments on the resurrection body and why it is important that we understand it rightly. He states, “Because we have a risen Lord who eats a fish, you and I are going to participate in the physical world for eternity.” The resurrection matters and is relevant both for life now and for eternity.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke143.mp3
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Lesson 144: Sharing the Story of the Resurrected Lord (Luke 24:44-49)

Jesus never stopped working among His disciples while He was with them, and this was an extremely good thing; to almost the very end it was difficult at times to tell whether or not they were going to be truly committed to Him or not! But in this account, we see Jesus sovereignly do exactly what needed to be done in opening up their minds to understand the Scriptures even as He informed them of their task to take the knowledge of Him to all nations. Pastor Daniel examines this text, applying it to the church today, stating, “You have been tasked by God to proclaim the story of a resurrected Christ. Who in your life needs that story?” Reminding us to bank on God’s power as we engage as witnesses in His world, we are challenged to see that our primary role in life is to serve as ambassadors wherever we’ve been planted.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke144.mp3
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Lesson 145: Knowing and Worshiping Jesus (Luke 24:50-53)

The final moments of Jesus on earth provide a perfectly beautiful conclusion to His time with His disciples. It ended with His blessing over them and their joyful worship of Him. This was the humble beginning to what God would soon do through His New Testament people to expand His kingdom from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. In this final message over the Gospel of Luke from Pastor Daniel, he challenges the church to ask a couple of key questions about Christ. 1) Do the disciples grasp who Jesus is? 2) Do we grasp who Jesus is? As we contemplate the King’s kingdom being established, he emphasizes, “May the worship that resulted from [the disciples’] grasp of who Jesus is be true of us as well.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke145.mp3
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