33 Luke 9.10-17
Resting on your Laurels
v I love idioms
Ø Used to teach them in Japan
§ Love their derivations
· Many come from the Bible:
¨ Raising Cain
¨ Handwriting on the wall
¨ Go the extra mile
¨ Eat, Drink and be Merry
· Others from elsewhere:
¨ Your name is mud
Ø Means 'you are not popular'.
§ While escaping after shooting President Lincoln, broke his leg. The doctor that gave John Wilkes Booth medical attention was Dr. Samuel Mudd. At the time, Mudd had no idea that Booth had committed the murder. Dr. Mudd was unfairly convicted of being a conspirator to Booth.
¨ The whole nine yards
Ø WW2 planes had 9 yards of bullets in their wings
¨ Cock and Bull story
Ø It comes from a long time ago when the two most popular pubs in a village were The Cock and The Bull. If a story started in The Cock, by the time it got to The Bull it had been either twisted or exaggerated.
¨ Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth
Ø When given something don't be ungrateful.
§ By counting the teeth you can tell the age of a horse. Checking whether a present of a horse was old would be considered impolite.
Ø “Resting on your laurels”
§ To rely on one's past achievements instead of working to maintain or advance
· Comes from ancient Greece
¨ Etc. here
v I’m sure that the disciples were perfectly content to do
Ø They have just returned from their mission to Israel
§ And they have had great success!
v V. 10 ~ When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done
Ø Q: What did they do?
§ According to Mk 6:12-13, 3 things…
· They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them
Ø Successful ministry!
§ And look at how success is defined…
· 1) Telling people they should repent
¨ Notice that the text does not say and people did
Ø Success in ministry requires just telling people the Gospel
· 2) Casting out demons in Jesus’ name
¨ Pushing back the kingdom of darkness
Ø Where light is present, darkness must recede
· 3) Touching and anointing people with oil and healing them
¨ Reversing the effects of sin
Ø Disease, decay and death
v Then Jesus shows them and us in the feeding of the 5,000 not to rest on their laurels…
Ø There is more to ministry than what they have just experienced
§ They need to keep going, keep ministering
v What Jesus is teaching them and us is that ministry is not a sprint, but a marathon
Ø Ministry is never ending, so we must train ourselves for the long haul
§ Train ourselves not to rest on our laurels
So Jesus continues to train his disciples in the…
Ministry of the Word
v READ v. 10b
Ø First of all, he trains us that
§ We must be in the word
· Q: Who here has been on a spiritual retreat?
¨ We recognize the need for it
Ø For a time of focus on the word
Ø For a time to “re-energize”
Ø A time away from the “giving” nature of the Gospel and just receive from God
§ Jesus recognized that the disciples needed some time just with him
· And we need the same
· And the Scriptures admonish us to do the same
¨ Josh 1:8
Ø Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night
Ø Q: Who here drinks tea? What makes the difference between a strong cup of tea and a weak one?
Strong cup results in the tea leaves being immersed in the water longer, allowing the water more time to get into the tea and the tea more time to get into the water. The longer the steeping process, the stronger the cup of tea.
In the same way, the length of time you spend in the God’s Word determines how deeply we get into it and how deeply it gets into you.
Just like tea, the longer we are in the Word, the stronger we become.
Ø Jesus recognized that his disciples needed some time to “steep” in him, the living Word
§ He took them away to Bethsaida
Ø We must recognize our need to steep in God’s Word as well
Second of all, regarding the ministry of the Word, he trains us that…
Ø We must also share the word
§ READ v. 11
· We cannot simply get fat on the word
¨ We must exercise that knowledge off by sharing the word
Hudson Taylor told of a Chinese pastor who always instructed new converts to witness as soon as possible. Once, upon meeting a young convert, the pastor inquired, "Brother, how long have you been saved?"
The man answered that he had been saved for about three months.
"And how many have you led to the Savior?"
"Oh, I'm only a learner," the convert responded.
Shaking his head in disapproval, the pastor said, "Young man, the Lord doesn't expect you to be a full-fledged preacher, but he does expect you to be a faithful witness. Tell me, when does a candle begin to shine, when it's already half burned up?"
"No, as soon as it's lit," came the reply.
"That's right, so let your light shine right away.
Ø And that is what he expects from you and me
§ We may not have all the answers
· We may be learning what the Gospel is all about
¨ But start shining for Christ
Verse 11 also shows us another aspect of ministry that Jesus means to train us in…
Ministry of Time
v Look at what it says…
Ø Crowds followed Jesus and he ‘welcomed them, spoke to them and healed them’
Ø This was a lesson that was tough for me to learn
§ My time and ministry time
· But then I really began to understand Rom 12:1
¨ Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship
Fred Craddock writes…
Sacrificing our lives for Christ at first appears glorious. To pour myself out for others. . . to pay the ultimate price of martyrdom. We say, “I'll do it. I'm ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory.”
We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking the $1,000 bill of our life and laying it on the table and saying, "Here's my life, Lord. I'm giving it all."
But the reality for most of us is that he sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $1,000 bill for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there.
? Stopping and listening to the neighbor kid's troubles…25 cents
? Going to committee meetings…50 cents
? Sharing your faith with someone at the coffee shop when you would rather read the paper…25 cents
? Visiting an elderly person who cannot get out of the house…25 cents
? Comforting a person in need…25 cents
? Listening to a person’s troubles…25 cents
Usually offering up our bodies as living sacrifices isn't glorious. It's done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at a time. It would be easy to go out in a flash of glory; it's harder to live the Christian life little by little over the long haul.
Ø That is the nature of our time sacrifice, isn’t it?
§ Consistent giving over the long haul
· Not like a sprinter, but like a marathoner
¨ And never resting on our laurels
Ø We all agree with Scripture and try to give our bodies as living sacrifices
§ But the practical implications of that are that we need to be prepared to give of our time to the work of the Gospel 25 cents at a time.
Verses 12-14 show us another aspect of ministry that we need to be trained in…
Ministry of Resources
v Look at the disciples attitude
v READ v. 12-14
v Mark 6:37 gives further insight as to what the disciples attitude was…
Ø But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat
Ø Q: What is the attitude of the disciples?
§ It would take a lot to feed these people
§ This is our money
§ That is too much to spend on these people
Ø Their attitude was…
§ We can’t give all we have
· And there is the lesson for us today!
v How many of us here today have the same attitude as the disciples toward our money and resources?
Ø Willing to give so much and no more
Ø Willing to give what you are comfortable with
Ø Willing to give so long as it doesn’t inconvenience you or your lifestyle
§ I call this the 5 loaf, 2 fish mentality toward your resources…
· Only this and no more
§ Or you can have the Psalm 24 mentality
· The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it
¨ A perspective that views all your resources as the Lord’s
¨ A perception that understands that it is not yours to begin with
¨ A view that you are only holding onto the Lord’s money until the master needs it
Ø I had a seminary professor who said
§ “The wallet is usually the last thing people give to Christ. When the Gospel grasps the person’s wallet, then you know they are sold out for Christ.”
Ø The early church lived this
§ READ Acts 2:42-45
Ø The question you have to ask yourself is…
§ Do you have the 5 loaf, 2 fish or psalm 24 attitude toward your money?
v Actually, when we stand back and look at the ministry and the mission that Jesus gives us, it looks impossible
The Impossible Ministry of the Gospel
v He asks us to…
Ø Always be ready to share the hope that is within us
Ø Always give of our time freely
Ø Always be prepared to give whatever resources to the Lord he demands
§ He asks an impossible ministry of us, doesn’t he?!
v And he brings this impossible ministry to the forefront in verse 13 with those simple words…
Ø Give them something to eat
§ He asks the impossible of the disciples here, doesn’t he?
¨ 5,000 people, probably closer to 10,000 w/ women and children
Ø And the disciples react exactly how we would, don’t they!
§ Well, Jesus asks the impossible of us right here in SWH
· He asks us to win SWH to Christ
¨ My informal survey
Ø Can Southwest Harbor be claimed for Christ?
§ No, not everybody
§ We are New Englanders
§ We’re Mainers!
§ Too difficult
§ NE’ers are too stuck in their ways
§ Maybe a few
§ Not everybody is elect
¨ But the lesson that we have to learn is
Ø Luke 18:27 ~ “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
Ø That is the lesson of Kidderminster, England
§ Richard Baxter ministered there from 1647-1661
· Town of 2,000…about the size of SWH
¨ READ “The Reformed Pastor”
v And when we believe in the impossible…
Ø Look at the impossible fruit of the Gospel Ministry
The Fruit of the Gospel Ministry
v READ V. 15-17
Ø They all ate and were satisfied and the disciples picked up 12 basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over
§ When we trust Jesus Christ…
· The impossible becomes possible
¨ That is what he has been teaching his disciples
Ø 5,000 people fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish
Ø Skin eating leprosy is cured
Ø A dead little girl raised back to life
Ø A demon possessed man brought back to sanity
Ø A withered arm renewed
§ That is the impossible fruit of the Gospel ministry…
· Through Christ, the impossible becoming possible
¨ A hard drinking, hard swearing ex-baseball player becoming a power Gospel preacher…Billy Sunday
¨ A dyed-in-the-wool, lying politician transformed into one of Christianity’s most powerful advocates…Charles Colson
¨ A pantheistic agnostic college professor transformed into one of the 20th century’s greatest Christian apologists…CS Lweis
§ And you and I are fruit of the impossible Gospel ministry
· I cannot put a list together for you like Billy Sunday and Charles Colson…
¨ But I’m sure you can
Ø For myself…
§ Christ has taken a proud, judgmental, harsh, course joking, sarcastic Blake
· And transformed him
¨ Christ has taken the impossible me and you,,,
Ø And transformed us
¨ He has taken the impossible me and you
Ø And made us into salt and light before men
¨ He takes the 5 loaves and 2 fish or our lives and multiplies it into 12 basketfuls
Ø And that is what he wants to do with SWH
§ Take the hard, weathered, angry, set-in-their-ways New Englanders of SWH…
· And transform them into Christ’s image
¨ This can only happen when we truly believe that 5 loaves and 2 fish can feed 5,000
¨ This can only happen when we start believing that…
Ø With God all things are possible!
§ That is what Jesus recognizes the disciples need…A retreat
· Imagine going on a spiritual retreat with Jesus
¨ The living word
§ This is not an admonition to find a retreat center and go…
· But to be in the word
§ Reference here is to OT sacrifice
· Family brought bull, lamb, what have you for sacrifice
· Priest offered certain parts of it to Yahweh
· Then slaughtered animal
· Cooked it
· Priests and family would eat together
¨ Every time you offer a sacrifice, you get some blessing in return
Ø A meat meal was very special to a Jewish family
§ What a blessing to have!
v Has anyone ever run a 5K
Ø You expend all your energy in that 5K
Ø You give it your all and you are exhausted afterward
v What if you were unexpectedly told you had to get up and run another one immediately
Ø It would be hard!
§ That is what Jesus is doing with the disciples