Focal Passage: Luke 4:16-30
Some people think they can be saved just because they belong to the right group: they’re Americans, or Israelites, or the right race, or they are members of the Baptist church.
In Luke 4, Jesus begins His public ministry. He started in a synagogue.
“Synagogue” literally means an assembly, what the Greek word behind “church” also means.
And He started with the Bible.
He quotes from Isaiah 61:1-2: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.”
That was His way of saying that He was the “anointed one,” literally the Messiah.
At first things began well.
The people are amazed that this young man, from a carpenter’s home, is so well-spoken.
But then He begins to bring out the implications of what He’s just read. He’s implied He’s a prophet.
But prophets aren’t accepted in their hometown.
Some churches will see a boy grow from a silly rascal to a serious man of God.
But because every time they look at him they only see the kid who used to run around the church in shorts, they can’t take seriously his message from God. They may be entertained by his speaking.
But to them, it’s just entertainment.
A church that can’t look past the messenger to the message, that treats preaching as a form of entertainment (not an opportunity to repent) is a church in need of correction.
The Lord Jesus then slams their assumption that they are God’s people simply because they are Israelites.
Elijah went to a non-Israelite for safety; Elisha healed a non-Israelite leper.
His point, in the words of the Apostle Paul: “Not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel . … It is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God” (Romans 9:6, 8).
That is, no one is one of God’s people simply by being born into the right family, nation or even church.
Salvation is not inherited like a family heirloom.
Religious hypocrites — who trust in something other than the work of Christ for their salvation — hate to have their salvation questioned.
They hate the suggestion that they may not be one of God’s people.
That’s why one of the most dangerous things a modern pastor can do (for his employment) is to suggest to life-less church members that they may not really be saved.
In Luke 4:29, they try to kill the Lord Jesus. Today the hypocrites will try to have the pastor fired. Both are in need of correction.