Luke 11: 29-36
“Living as a sign of this age”
March 19, 2017
The statistics that have been surveyed by Gallup Korea a while ago were published as follows. People are healed because they prayed to God. Among Christians there were three out of 10 people who had a similar experience. On the contrary, Catholics have only one in ten but among Buddhists none reported having this experience. So, assuming that there are 10 million Korean Christians, about three million people pray to God and said that they have had a healing or similar experience. Miracle are still happening to the people who need it. However, faith searching for external signs is not the right faith. There are still many people with such faiths. They want to see the signs with their eyes to believe in Jesus. If they do not see the signs, it is like the unbelief of the crowds shown in the Word today. A sign is a miraculous sign, a token. Jesus showed many signs.
But the crowd did not believe these signs. In verse 14, “one day Jesus cast out a demon from a man who couldn’t speak, and when the demon was gone, the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed, but some of them said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Beelzebub, the prince of demons.” Beelzebub means the King of the fly. How terrible did they claim it? But people still believe in these nonsense things. When we think about this, how honorable and noble we are.
The crowds that are shown in the Word saw many signs. In Luke, only nine or more are recorded today. When they saw, and heard these signs and teachings of Jesus they obviously knew that he was not an ordinary prophet or teacher. However, they did not believe Jesus as the Messiah, the savior. So, rather than looking at a sign for being on the ground, they wanted to see the sign from heaven. They wanted Jesus, like Moses pour out manna from heaven. Or, like Elijah, Jesus makes the fire coming down from heaven. If Jesus show them such a sign, they said they will believe in him as the Messiah.
It looks like a group of pathetic people. But, in some aspect this is what we believe in. In order to believe in Jesus, we hope to see more miracles and wonders. It is not unreasonable to seek a sign to trust well. But it is wrong to seek only the signs. It is like the faith of the crowd. Therefore, we must keep faith in the Word. What if we do not keep faith in the Word? It is the word in verse 24. It is the example that Jesus said. “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.” When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.” Likewise, we have decided to believe in Jesus. We removed all unrighteous and unclean things before we believe. But if we do not fill it with the Word of God worldly things come in more than before we believe. So, we have to manage it well so that we can prevent evil things from coming in. So, we must keep our faith in the Word and live as a sign of God in this age.
And, the sign is a token and it is called a sign. Signs can be seen. When you look at the cross, you can see that it is a church. When you see a yellow “M” you will notice that it is a McDonald sign. Likewise, when people look at us, they must see that we are the people of God and Christians. Everything in this world exists as a sign of God. If you look closely, it is a miracle. Everything in heaven and on earth represents God’s miraculous work.
A sign does not refer to what a person does. The sign is that God can do things that no man can do. God’s sings also contain people. There is no magical sign of God as human. The more miraculous signs among them are that we believe in God. It is a sign of being a Christian. Why is this a miraculous sign? We cannot be a Christian because we want to be. It is only by the grace of God. We must know this and live as a sign of God. How then should we live to be a sign of God in this age? (Pause)
1) Repent and return to God.
At that time, the Jews were called God’s people, but without repentance, faith and life were leaving God. So, the first words of John the Baptist or the disciples proclaimed the first thing to repent. Repentance is one of the most unheard words. They are words like repent, you are sinners, and you are tempted. These are the most serious words of faith. It is a word that must be acknowledged and practiced. Nevertheless, it shows a sensitive rejection. It is to recognize and repent as a sinner. We do not know how serious the problem is in faith. One obvious fact is that we do not recognize that we are sinners. If we do not repent, any sign of God will be accepted.
The same is true of the crowd who asked to show signs. They did not want to see it because they could not see the target. They saw the sign, but did not truly repent and go back to God So, Jesus said that no sign would be accepted unless they went back to God. So, he said he would not show any more signs. Instead, as Jonah was a sign to the people of Nineveh he will be a sign for this generation. Jonah is well known to us as a prophet who was inside the fish for three days and three nights. Likewise, Jesus also was spent three days in the grave and was alive again. It will be a sign that cannot be rejected. This is the resurrection of Jesus. It is said that there will be no sign as great as Jesus’ resurrection.
But Jesus’ focus is on Jonah’s signs and witness was the reaction of the Ninevites. The sign of Jonah was three days in the stomach of the fish. He would have talked about surviving for three days inside the fish. With that sign, after 40 days, he testified that this castle was ruined and that they should repent. The people of Nineveh were not only men but also the animals fasted and repented. When they did, God saved everything. Nineveh repented in the evidence of disobedient Jonah. But the crowd did not repent even the son of God came and witnessed the Word. So, Jesus said that on the Day of Judgment the Gentiles, Nineveh people will judge these unrepentant multitudes.
Jesus indicated that even if we fall, God will forgive us if we repent. When we repent, God will save us and our nation. It is the word of 2 Chronicles 7:14. “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” What does repentance mean to those who repent? God said in one verse. They are 1) to leave the evil path, 2) to be humble, 3) to pray and seek God’s face. Repent and return to God to live as a sign of God in this age. How then should we live to be a sign of God in this age? (Pause)
2) Open your heart and listen to the Word.
The problem of the crowd introduced in today’s Word was not that they did not see the signs. It was not a problem of not seeing the sign but rejecting it. The problem of this age is the same. It is not a problem that there is no word. It is a matter of rejecting the word, not listening and not accepting it. So, we should not want more but not to reject what you receive, but accept it. To accept the Word, we must open our heart. The state of opening our mind is that when we hear the word, it is a ready attitude that we will accept it with the words that God gives to us. However, the crowd kept their minds shut in every situation.
What is the attitude to open our mind to hear the Word? Jesus wanted to hear the wisdom of the Queen of the South. She was the Queen Sheba. Sheba was the Yemeni south of the Arabian Peninsula. It is said to be about 1200 miles to Jerusalem. She has come to hear God’s words of wisdom. She has brought a lot of valuable gifts. At that time, it was said to be the end of the earth for transportation. Think once. A queen of a country has all the affairs closed and traveled through dangerous desert roads with the heads of the country. Solomon’s reputation came only after hearing rumors. She was not sure that Solomon’s wisdom was absolute. Nor did she receive a formal invitation from Solomon. It was a situation that she did not even know how to meet. It was a reckless challenge. But nothing could stop the Queen of Sheba. In her mind, she was only inclined to hear the word.
She came all the way to hear the word of the human Solomon. However, the crowds did not have to work at all like the queen of Sheba. Jesus, the Son of God, the wisdom itself was on their side but they did accept his word. Jesus said again that at the time of judgment the queen of Sheba will live and judge the crowd. There is only one reason. The queen of Sheba was in danger when she came to hear the word but the Jewish crowd did not want to hear or receive the word. So, accept God’s word even if we take all the sacrifices and live as a Christian sign in this age. How then should we live to be a sign of God in this age? (Pause)
3) Live with spiritual discernment.
What is spiritual discernment? It is to judge if it is God’s will or man’s will. In other words, God should be the center of all things. And to live with spiritual discernment as Jesus said this by living with bright and glorious eyes. Here, the eye is speaking as an accepting sensory function. Everything we see with our eyes comes in and it is said to be stored in the brain as an image. It’s like a video camera. It also says that things we cannot remember immediately are saved. And, A good physical and mental health is depending on what comes in. If our eyes are healthy, our whole body will be healthy. When the eyes are bad, the whole body is not healthy. Also, it must be interpreted spiritually. When we accept good things with our eyes and soul is bright. If we accept the bad, our soul is dark, that is, it gets ill. Therefore, the dark and ill soul will make the body ill. This is a diagnosis of Jesus, the physician of all physicians.
So, what should we do to have a good eye? The lamp is described as a parable, where the lamp symbolizes the eye. The reason for the existence of the lamp is to see the light. The reason we have our eyes is to see the light. It is because of the darkness that we cannot see the light even though we have eyes. Light refers to the signs of Jesus and Jesus, the words of Jesus, and the ministry of Jesus. We must accept this light with our bright and clear eyes. So, we must fill our soul with this light. Then, our souls become bright and have spiritual discernment.
In verse 36 it was called the light in you. The light in us is Jesus and the Word of God in us. It is the Holy Spirit in us and the Word of God. We are filled with the sins of the world. Jesus asked us to check our heart. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit must be filled in us to have spiritual discernment. Once again what is spiritual discernment? It is the ability to distinguish spiritual things. That is, the ability to distinguish God’s work. This power is only possible with the Word and the Holy Spirit. If we do not fill this in us, then instead of spiritual discernment we will judge God’s work with worldly judgment. Then, God will not be pleased. When God is pleased, we do not do God’s work. When we live with spiritual discernment, we will live as a sign of Jesus Christ.
Let’s review it. What should we do to be a mark of Christ in this age?
1) Repent and return to God. 2) Open your heart and listen to the Word. 3) Live with spiritual discernment. In this way, by making God pleased then God will give us joy and good things in our lives. Amen.