Good morning, afternoon, evening…middle of the night…whenever you happen to be watching this.
We are jumping back into our study of the Book of Luke this week
Luke is 1 of 4 books in the Bible about the life, teachings, death & resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We are currently at the very end of Luke chapter 13.
Today, Jesus is going to speak about how His followers should treat those who oppose them
(Luke 13:31-35) – NIV
31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33 In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
All right, so Jesus is warned that Herod wants to kill him.
This is Herod Antipas.
The same King Herod that, not that long before this, had Jesus’ relative John the Baptist beheaded.
He’s the Roman ruler over the region of Galilee
And the Pharisees (whether for good or for evil is hard to say) tell Jesus to run away from Herod
And Jesus says, “You tell that fox…” ☺
That sly ruler…
The vicious leader who’s living off the hides of others…
And what does Jesus want Herod to know?
That He is unafraid…He is undeterred.
That Jesus is going to press on….to keep fulfilling his mission.
He’s going to keep freeing the oppressed
Keep healing the sick
And bringing his good news to the lost.
In fact, He’s going to walk right into the “den of all fox dens,” Jerusalem.
Where, it’s not Herod in power, but an even higher up from the Roman Empire..
Pontius Pilate…who ruled all of Judea.
And the Jewish ruling body, the Sanhedrin, is there.
Jerusalem is like a group of bloodthirsty foxes, just waiting for him to enter their lair.
That’s where he’s headed.
Right into the den.
DON’T BE AFRAID
And how is Jesus able to do that? To walk right into the fox den?
It’s because of how he looks at the foxes of the world.
Those who oppose His message.
In fact, there are two very important lessons we must learn from Jesus today in how we must look at the foxes who oppose His Gospel.
Let’s start with the first one:
How To Look At A Fox:
#1: Don’t be afraid
Jesus says, “You tell that fox!”
Jesus is not saying, (quivering), “Uh, what?? A fox!??! He wants to get me?!? Oh no!!”
Jesus is not afraid.
We are not to fear those who may oppose our teachings of Christ.
Do you remember this from the previous chapter, Luke 12?
(Luke 12:4-5) – NIV
4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
Jesus is not afraid.
He knows that God is in control
God has a plan for all of our lives
“And Jesus is SO not afraid…that he’s going to go right to the political and ruling epicenter of the culture, Jerusalem
And listen, as America continues to change, it’s quite likely that our culture will continue to become less and less accepting of Christian beliefs, not more.
We pray that this virus leads to change…that it leads to a massive amount of people coming to Christ…
But if it does not, and things continue like they were going…
Then Christians are going to feel much more like outsiders than we did in the 1990’s, and certainly back to the mid 20th century.
I can’t say this with 100% certainty, but more than likely…
It’s only going to get harder to share your faith in public, or at work, or at school.
To have Biblical views of morality or ethics will become less and less common, and more and more frowned upon.
You, as a Christ follower, are likely to feel more and more opposition from the “Foxes of the world” in the years to come.
And it is critical that you don’t become afraid.
If we become afraid, and we isolate and withdraw into our own micro societies…out of fear…
Then we’re completely missing the example of Jesus.
Who walked right into the den. Unafraid.
Because His God was bigger than any fox that might oppose Him.
And that’s true for us too
(1 John 4:4) – NIV
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
If things get tougher for Christians here in the years to come…we must not stop.
I just finished a book called, “The Heavenly Man,” which chronicles the life of one of the leaders of the House Church movement in China during the end of the 20th century.
And I tell you…the opposition and persecution of Christians there is insane.
Every church service was done in secret.
The believers were constantly harassed by the government, with their houses raided and all of their possessions taken.
The leaders of the house churches were frequently arrested and thrown in prison for years at a time.
And yet, the Christians there didn’t quit.
They didn’t let the foxes scare them into saying, “Oh, it’s against the rules to talk about Jesus at work…or to my neighbor…so I’ll just withdraw into my own mini-Christian society”
No, they kept going…They weren’t afraid of a fox.
They feared God instead.
And because they weren’t afraid, millions upon millions upon millions have accepted Christ in China in the last 40 years.
In a sense, China is one of the great lights of Christianity right now.
And I assure you, that the opposition that our brothers & sisters in Christ face in China is much scarier than what we have ever faced in America
And yet, they are not afraid.
They are trusting in God.
LOOK WITH LOVE, NOT HATE
Now, if the passage stopped right there…we’d miss the heart of God.
And unfortunately, some Christians live as if only point #1 is true.
They look at life like it’s some sort of culture war. A battle that Christians must win…and find their way to the top of society.
These “Christians” see the fox as merely someone trying to take them down, and someone they must, outfox.
But when you try and outfox someone, guess what, you look just like a fox.
But remember, Jesus doesn’t conquer the Romans by getting power over them…
It’s not His way…and we must be careful to not make it ours.
And so Jesus flips the metaphor.
(Luke 13:34) - NIV
34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing
This is the second way, we must look at the fox.
How To Look At A Fox:
#1: Don’t be afraid
#2: Look with love, not hate
These two principles may seem like they don’t even go together, but, friend, they do!
Jesus says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem…”
In the Bible, that repetition is a term of endearment you use when you care for someone
Jesus said it to Martha in Luke 10 when she was too busy in the kitchen, “Martha, Martha…”
Jesus said it when he appears to Saul back when he was persecuting Christians before he became Paul…, “Saul, Saul”
Jesus is showing us that we can’t walk into the den, and try and outfox the fox.
We are to be: the hen in the den.
We’re like hens.
And we ought to look at the people of the world (even though they may oppose our message)…we must see them like little chicks that we yearn to gather into God’s Kingdom.
We must want them to know the warmth, and security, and greatness of God’s love...under the safety of his wing
…even though some of them are out to get us.
That’s the paradox that Christians must hold in balance.
The Hen in the Den.
Because that’s how our model, Jesus lived.
A few chapters later, when Jesus finally gets to Jerusalem, he doesn’t come riding in on a chariot of fire…ready to round up the foxes.
Instead, this happens:
(Luke 19:41-42) – NIV
41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.
That’s one of only 2 times where the Gospels record Jesus as crying (the other is over Lazarus’ death)
God’s heart is for people.
And it’s all over the Bible.
He wants to draw them to himself.
Like a hen with her chicks.
That’s why you see the Old Testament often describe God as someone who wants us to live in “the shelter of His wings”
And friends, we must look at the foxes this way…
We must see them as Hens would see their chicks.
And if you don’t…if you just see those who oppose your Christian message as someone scary…or, as someone we must conquer or fight against…
We are not seeing them with the eyes of God.
I think this is a key question for every believer:
How do you see the people who oppose you?
How do you see the people who are advocating for a political agenda that is different than yours right now?
Or what about those who would make it harder for you to live out your faith in the years to come?
Can you love them?
Because Jesus did tell us to LOVE our enemies…not hate them.
How do you see your family members who see the world differently than you?
Or those in the workplace?
Do they annoy you?
“Are they someone you want to prove wrong, or are they someone you want to lead to Jesus?
If we don’t LOOK at people the right way, we won’t TREAT them the right way.
Jesus IS the hen…who walks into the fox den.
And he lives this out…the whole way.
Even as they are killing him on the cross, he says, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Friends, we have GOT to stop looking at those who don’t know Christ as the enemy.
They are not.
They just don’t know the truth.
See them through Christ’s eyes.
He wants to gather them in so they can be redeemed…so they can know love.
In 1982, Frank & Elizabeth Morris had a son who was 18 years old
But one night, as he was out driving, and his life, tragically ended too soon as he was hit by a drunk driver…a kid named Tommy, who was only 18 years old himself
Frank & Elizabeth, who were serious followers of Christ, were plunged into a season of grief.
However, two years later, Elizabeth saw the young driver…whose car had hit her sons…speaking at an event.
And in that event…he cried tears of remorse for what He had done.
She ended up connecting with him after the event and learning that he was from a really broken home and had struggled with addiction.
And there, miraculously, a mentorship started between Elizabeth, her husband, and the boy Tommy who took their son’s life away.
Eventually, Tommy decided to give his life to Christ and became a Christian
He started learning more about God from Elizabeth and Frank…and they started talking more and more…giving guidance to Him.
And they begin seeing each other multiple times a week, and eventually they even call Tommy their adopted Son.
This real story…is important….and here’s why.
Those parents are imitating God.
Listen, the easiest way to start seeing people through Christ’s eyes is to remember how Christ truly saw you.
The Bible talks about this often…in Ephesians 2, Romans 5, but perhaps nowhere clearer than Colossians chapter 1
(Colossians 1:21-22) – NEW LIVING TRANSLATION!!!
This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
God didn’t decide to love you because of what you did or how good you became.
It says that YOU were the fox.
You were his enemy…because of your own sin.
Like the story of Tommy and the car crash…you’re Tommy…it was you…who killed Jesus.
It was our sin…who put God’s Son on the cross.
We were God’s enemy
But He loved you, His enemy.
And not only that, He longed to gather you in…under his wing…and give you a home.
And He did!
He reconciled us…into His family…and now calls us (his former enemies) an adopted daughter of God, a son of God!
And our task, is to look at people who are enemies of God the same way.
To not be afraid…
But to love.
May God be with us.
Let me pray
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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