Australian Bible Church (Presbyterian) March 31, 2013 ... a.m.




in context Luke 7:20-35.


Sermon Notes

Easter moves over the millenia as a memorial time, so adopted by Christians,

which many for long have tried to secularise,

but which the Bible has for all time, shown in its world-wide thrust,

the time of crucifixion, congratulation for salvation, fixation on its cost and consequence.

In our text this morning, we see John the Baptist seeking confirmation from Christ

that He is the Messiah.

This was readily given to him as it is to us.

It is not the coat which Christianity wears which matters most,

but what lies in its heart,

in the heart of God,

where help abides, as indeed all that is needed for our own hearts:
it is this which is always apt, and now focussed by the prophet.



John is imprisoned, kept on call by an impressed but apparently paranoid Herod,
and he asks for confirmation of the Messiah, Himself menaced,
though seizing the mind of the people
with undeniable works of unequalled power and meticulous mercy.

Christ cites in summary from the testimonials now openly shown by Him
in the lab of history, events, performances matched by no other but God Himself,
and in precise line with the staggering forecasts of the prophets.



Next, Jesus shows the greatness of John the Baptist.

Amazingly, vast as is the eminence of John the Baptist, prophet of repentance,
greater is the least in the kingdom of heaven! So He declares. How is this so ?

The greatest pilot that ever was, in a small one-engined aeroplane,
a person filled with facilities and flair,
accomplishes far less than a very ordinary pilot of an advanced airliner,
despite his own eminently congratulable skills.

The Kingdom has a liberty, a direct access to God without limitation, by the Gospel,
an immediacy, an air past all flair,
in its Founder and Payor,
Jesus Christ, now revealed:
not an equation to explain certain relationships as with Einstein's noted product,
which merely shows what the Creator put there in mathematical profundity,
but it is Himself who is presented, the Maker of Mind, Spirit and Body in man.


Acknowledged sinners, we learn,  rejoiced that John the Baptist's challenge to repentance
was not in vain: forerunner, He pointed to Christ.
Acknowledged super-religionists, Pharisees and lawyers, "rejected the will of God for them,"
and finding in John no place for pride, in Christ none for faith. Instead,  believing in themselves,
they proceeded according to themselves (cf. Mark 7:7ff.).



Playing games as the ship sinks and the life-boat is offering, is a mismatch:
so is playing with fire, or with truth, or with God.

Children love games, to mimic, parade, scorn or adorn realities.
Adults can resemble them in this,
that they can seize little ideas, little games, little shapes for thought,
and as if paralysed in intellect, grab them and have nothing but these,
whether it be for a sad or rollicking setting.

When adults play with fixed ideas, carelessly or carnally wrought and taught,
criticising truth can thus be advanced almost effortlessly,
and corruption ensures as with cancer fixing itself, out of place.

Some thought John the Baptist too solemn and plainly spiritual,
and were not interested.
Some thought Jesus too popularist, too mixed up with things common and soiled.

Either way, the sensationalist, superficial critic does not appreciate
the multi-faceted wonder of the working of God,
to present the aura,
or meet the need,
as the case may be.

Religious fixations, instead of spiritual transformations,
are no more desirable than seared flesh, sticking to itself, nor any more helpful.
It is the word, wit and wisdom of God which counts.


John was the authorised messenger of the coming of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3),

Christ was (and is) the anointed Saviour (Luke 2:11, Acts 17:31);

but while there is one Gospel, one Church (of active believers in Him and His word)

there are ways of approach, estimable by spiritual impact, not popularity.

The ultimate child of wisdom, however,  is evidenced in the sending of the Saviour
as a child,
to become man and to make death itself,
a reject in favour of life, but not for all:
only for those
who have loved His appearing (II Timothy 4:8).
This being the manifest and exact likeness of God (Hebrews 1:3),
is the pivot of destiny, the centre of desire (Haggai 2:7)
and the specifier, whether for faith or disbelief, of truth.
This junked, like necessary surgery, there is in its denial,
a certain looming of divine wrath,
due in the first place, and now faced direct,
without needed deliverance,
 through avoidance of adoption of the divine mercy (John 3:36).

Whether shown in preparation in repentance towards God,
ardently called for (Luke 13:1-3),,
or in culmination in joy in Christ's presence on this earth,
the rest of repair, resolution and remedy
all leads to one way, one salvation,
one hope, one extract of mercy,
intense, immense,
indissoluble, indispensable,
incontrovertible and profound.

This, it is yet here, reigning in vital and abundant opportunity, till judgment comes,
this earth subjected to it,
then dismissed.

But the people of God are not dismissed,
rather for them comes a new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells (II Peter 3),
and a new status, where sin cannot enter, nor grief,
where life is freed of incubus and curse (Rev. 21:4-8, 22:3),
and death is like a past sickness,
subdued by the inventive love
of God Himself,
who has abolished death
brought immortality to light (II Tim. 1:10)
and the phases finished, leaves His children to reign
in His integrity and theirs (Revelation 22:3-5).

Now the resurrection of Christ's body is the deposit for faith;
then the resurrection of ours who believe, is the interest on His capital work
(I Corinthians 15).




What do we read or find here ? It is this.


"Wisdom is justified." This is the "justified" of James 2, equivalent to showing what is in mind, to be

true and operative, by what follows. The fraudulent fabric of merely ostensible faith is moth-eaten. Real

faith has real results; just as real gifts come freely (James 1:17-18). Wisdom has her fruits.


 It is justified by  "ALL" her children. Though there is one major, effectual plan and purpose, many are the stages, phases, attestations employed, yes and many the different people - like Peter and Paul (cf. II Peter 3:15-16), very diverse, very complementary, both in what they were, said and did. Yet the unitary binding and mutual profit was vast (cf. Galatians 1-2, and II Peter as above). One must learn to love and to profit from all who loved His appearing, love His word and being called, act. There is a whole larder of relishes which nothing else can so embrace. As Paul declares, "... in malice, be babes; but In understanding, be full-grown!" (I Cor. 14:30).



Wisdom has many children, and propagates in multiple ways, by one written word, one directive Spirit, one glorified God who came as Saviour, and is coming as Judge.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10); and how it prospers to the end! Therefore also be ready to divulge, instruct, correct, attest as time enables, opportunity opens and leave a testimony, even in death if need be, as do Autumn leaves. Life continues forever, in the unuprooted tree ! (Matthew 15:13, II Timothy 1:9). Be zealous therefore, as was He who did not merely think of coming, but came; and that not with mere duty, but with relish (Psalm 40, Hebrews 12:1ff.).