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 1 (Luke 1:67-80)

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 2 (Luke 1:67-80)

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 1 (Luke 3:1-20)

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 2 (Luke 3:1-20)

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 1 (Luke 6:12-16)

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 2 (Luke 6:12-16)

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 1 (Luke 6:17-26)

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 2: Prestige and Persecution (Luke 6:17-26)

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 1: Choosing Your Measure (Luke 6:37-38)

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 2: Blinding Hypocrisy (Luke 6:39-42)

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 1- The Path (Luke 8:1-21)

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 2- The Tragedy of Temporary Faith (Luke 8:1-21)

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 4- 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.

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 5- Living Doctrine (Luke 8:1-21)

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
http://feeds.bible.org/dan_bennett/luke/Bennett_Luke050.mp3
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