The Gospel of Luke: Commendation & Condemnation

Luke 7:24-35
Greg Smith
February, 13 2022

MP3 Download Listen to Audio PDF Notes


Doubt / Unbelief / Faith

The Gospel of Luke: Commendation & Condemnation

Each transcript is a rough approximation of the message preached and may occasionally misstate certain portions of the sermon and even misspell certain words. It should in no way be considered an edited document ready for print. Moreover, as in any transcription of the spoken word, the full intention and passion of the speaker cannot be fully captured and will in no way reflect the same style of a written document.

i invite you if you would to turn in your bibles to the gospel of luke 7.

we turn our attention back to our study of luke's gospel

we paused this about three weeks ago uh thanks to uh to covet 19 we're however back very grateful for jack white and his kindness to come and to fill in the last two sundays and opening god's word and teaching thankful to have good friends who are capable at handling the truth and willing to step in and serve really thankful for jack this morning we come back to luke chapter seven i would ask you to just bear with me a little this morning i've still got a little bit of a lingering cough here so i'm gonna try not to be rude and cough on you but i may not be able to help it at some point here

we pick up in verse 24 of luke chapter 7 this morning we'll read through verse 35 and attempt to work through the rest of this text this morning luke writes this he says when john's messengers had gone jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning john what did you go out to the wilderness to see a reed shaken by the wind what did you go out to see a man dressed in soft clothing behold those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury or in king's courts what then did you go out to see a prophet yes i tell you more than a prophet this is he of whom it is written behold i send my messenger before your face who will prepare your way before you i tell you among those born of women none is greater than john yet the one who's least in the kingdom of god is greater than he when all the people heard this and the tax collectors too they declared god just having been baptized with the baptism of john but the pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of god for themselves not having been baptized by him

so what then shall i compare the people of this generation and what are they like they're like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to one another we played the flute for you and you did not dance we sang a dirge and you did not weep for john the baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine and you say he has a demon the son of man has come eating and drinking and you say look at him a glutton and a drunkard a friend of tax collectors and sinners yet wisdom is justified by all her children that's the word of the lord for us this morning


unfortunately we left uh in the middle of this this lengthy passage that we're catching the conclusion of just uh three weeks ago we left for john the baptist languishing in prison he's been there for three weeks until we finish up this text but we have to pick up where we were and i know that you are studious people and you remember everything that's said on any given sunday morning however this morning we will try to review just a tad for the benefit of those who may not have been with us a couple of weeks ago we begin at the early part of this text looking at the issue of doubt because the whole context the broader piece of john i mean luke chapter 7 here deals with john the baptist he he we saw him earlier in luke's gospel back in chapter three and his ministry was introduced to us but we sort of went silent for a little while and now he's brought back up again by luke and he's brought back up sort of in this little snippet of his life where he is in prison and it's really near the end of his life and not only is he imprisoned but he's not at the height of his faith he's in fact wavering and he's doubting and he's confused about what about what's happening in the world around him and the ministry of christ and so he sends some emissaries to jesus to sort things out john is a man who who walked by faith he's a man who understood who jesus was and who had embraced him and who had prepared the way for him who had declared that he is the lamb of god who takes away the sins of the world he had received the truth of the gospel but like so many of us who received the truth of the gospel his walk of faith wasn't always marked by a consistent confidence that never wavered can you identify with that can you identify with the reality that even people who embrace the truth of christ who fully embrace the gospel are not people who walk lives of constant consistent faith that never wavers that was true of john certainly been my experience and i trust to some degree or the other it's been yours

we all deal with doubts we all know what it's like to stop and to question what's happening around us and to reassess what we believe

it's a story i read about a kindergarten class a teacher had assigned the class a task of writing drawing a picture like kindergarten teachers sometimes do and the teacher was walking around the classroom observing her students drawing their pictures and she came upon one little girl and she asked the little girl sweetheart what are you drawing to which the little girl replied i'm drawing a picture of god the teacher paused a little bit and said but honey nobody knows what god looks like without missing a beat a little girl didn't even look up from her picture and he said and she said they will in a minute

that's great isn't it not everybody has that kind of confidence in their understanding of who god is do they

in fact many of us struggle regularly with doubt i believe every christian at some point who takes their faith seriously struggles with doubt to some degree or the other christianity is a a religion like all religions that's founded upon faith faith is not the same thing as certainty by very definition faith is not certainty it's faith there is there's always within faith this element of mystery it always does if there's no mystery there's no faith and faith by definition carries an element of mystery it is not the same thing as certainty hebrews chapter 11 verse 1 says this it says now faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen you can even understand in that very simple definition of faith that there's an element of mystery when we talk about having confidence in things that we can't see there's mystery underneath that when we talk about having an assurance of things that are hoped for there's an element of mystery underneath that paul writes in second corinthians he says we are people who walk by faith not by sight there's a difference between walking by faith and walking by sight walking by sight is walking with a degree of certainty we can see what's in front of us we can we can sort of assess with all of our senses what's in our pathway and we walk according to what we know based on what we see the walking by faith isn't like that by its very essence there's mystery there are things we believe that that we don't fully understand there are things that we embrace that we can't fully explain and that is true not only of christianity but it's true of every single faith that anyone embraces but as christians our faith is not a blind faith it's not a faith that's blind without evidence i remember it's been a number of years ago now that i participated in sort of a panel debate down at the college of charleston just leading up to one of the presidential elections and the theme of the debate was the role of faith in politics and and i'll i'll never forget one little moment in that particular conversation i was there there was a a math professor from the college of charleston who was a very active uh secular humanist in the in the area and and i'll never forget that when he was speaking at one point in that in that debate he defined faith this way he said faith is belief without evidence faith is belief without evidence and then he began to sort of cast the conversation this way he began to sort of uh posit from his perspective that people like me who were christians were people who were people of faith we we just believe things with no evidence and people like him are people of science who believe what they believe based on empirical evidence and so in his mind and by his definition faith is foolish because it's blind and science is reasonable because there's evidence well of course it's an absolutely ridiculous definition of faith i don't know any person of faith who would say that to them faith means belief without evidence in fact that's the opposite of christian faith christian faith while there is mystery is anchored in evidence we don't have time to sort of go down that hole too far but i'll just simply say psalm 19 1 if you want to look there simply tells us this the heavens declare the glory of god and the sky above proclaims his handiwork the psalmist declares that his faith is not a faith that's blind that's without evidence in fact he says if you want to have evidence of what i believe all you have to do is a very simple exercise bend your neck backwards and open your eyes and look at the night sky and all around you is evidence for what i believe that there is a god who made all things that there's a grand design to the universe


that's a faith that's anchored in evidence


not a faith that's blind but whenever we believe things by faith there is mystery underneath it and when there's mystery there's always a door that opens its way for doubt and circumstances can come into our lives which would shake our foundations and cause us to stop and and question and reassess people come into our world they ask questions that we don't have answers for and all of a sudden we find our mind spiraling in directions where we have never spiraled before the enemy of our souls comes in and begins to whisper in our ear what he did to eve in the garden of eden in the very beginning did god really say what you think he said does god really mean what you think he means


and the doubts begin to assail us we use the definition a few weeks ago for doubt by oz guinness i think it's a good one he said doubt is a state of mind in suspension between faith and unbelief a state of mind in suspension between those two poles the bible does not present doubt as an oddity in fact it it presents doubt as is rather common if you were to sort of flip through the bible and look at all of those who who the bible sort of projects as heroes of the faith you find that all of their lives were a mixed bag of remarkable faith and really stunning doubts


abraham we could begin there was a man who had the faith to to pick up and to pick up his family and to leave his home and to head toward an unidentified land of promise that god said he would lead him to a remarkable acts of faith but very shortly down the line in the journey he doubts god's protection and provision and lies and says his wife is his sister


a remarkable moment of faith and an incredible moment of doubt david a man after god's own heart who who single-handedly takes on the giant goliath with a sling and a few stones


in short order doubts how seriously god takes sin and immorality and falls in remarkable fashion peter the great apostle in the new testament who said you're the christ the son of the living god a few moments later says to a little girl i don't i don't know who jesus is i've never met a guy a remarkable moment of faith and an incredible moment of doubt


jesus everybody else might fall by the wayside everybody else might abandon you but i will follow you and i will stick with you even if i have to die doing it


remarkable statement of faith to which jesus responds get behind me satan


all of the heroes of the bible are a mixed bag of faith and doubt


and that's not a bad thing doubt is often the tool that god uses to deepen our faith it often drives us to christ and it drives us to the word of god to search out answers that we hadn't asked before it forces us to pursue the truth in ways that perhaps we haven't pursued it previously there's a great tool in god's sanctification in our life chuck swindoll says this of doubt and and how it sort of works in this part of our life he says doubts fuel the believer's pursuit of real answers to life's most troubling questions doubts make deep divers out of novice swimmers doubts cause us to go down into the labyrinthine realm of profound truth to find treasures many people don't even know exist doubters are deep thinkers who need something more than churchy platitudes and folk theology doubters crave spiritual truths that work rather than cliches that merely decorate their denial


god uses doubt in some remarkably positive ways in our life but while down is a normal part of a christian's journey it's not something that we're to celebrate it's not something that we're to obsess over we're not to enshrine doubt as though it's some sort of a moral virtue that it is not there's a whole literally cultural movement that's just sort of blown through our culture called post-modernism and post-modernism was really a whole movement based on this idea that there is no such thing as absolute truth that we can't actually know anything that we should doubt and question everything and that we can never come to any kind of certainty about what we believe the best we can do is gather up with other people and have conversations about our doubts


well that's insane and that's why it's blown through our culture and gone away but that's what happens when you enshrine doubt and you make it a virtue it is not


shelby abbott writes this he says an intentional celebration of doubt can quickly backslide into a glorification of it so it's crucial we approach our doubts with discernment it's easy for doubt to lead to unbelief if we obsess over it which many people have a tendency to do when doubt comes knocking the bible calls us not to enshrine doubt as some sort of a great virtue and it calls us not to obsess over it either the bible calls doubters to in moments of doubt pursue truth and to pursue christ and to pursue certainty in fact the gospel of luke itself was written as a tool in that pursuit if you were to go back to chapter 1 of luke's gospel verse 3 luke writes he says this he says it seemed good to me also having followed all things closely for some time past to write an orderly account for you almost excellent theophilus that you might have certainty concerning the things that you've been taught theophilus is wrestling through doubts and luke writes in order to drive him towards certainty


and that's what christians do in response to doubt


we don't enshrine it we don't celebrate it and we don't obsess over it alistair mcgrath says this i think it's helpful he says doubt is like an attention-seeking child the more attention you pay to it the more attention it demands by worrying about your doubts you get locked into a vicious cycle of uncertainty


what do we do when we struggle with doubt we run to christ like john did we run to the word of god we bring openly and honestly before him our doubts and our questions we lay them at his speed and like the man we looked at in in mark chapter nine last time we simply say to him lord i believe i have faith but my faith is imperfect and i need your help in my areas where i doubt where there's unbelief if you read the psalms the psalmists do this regularly provide for us a marvelous template for how to do this


but as we think through john and as we think through what's going on with him in this prison as we think through our own lives and how we wrestle through doubt we need to affirm again that there is a difference between doubt and unbelief doubt flows out of faith there is something that we have embraced by faith and believe that now questions are being raised and we're wondering about again unbelief is an act of the will


henry drummond says this doubt is i can't believe unbelief is i won't believe doubt is honest the unbelief is obstinacy doubt is looking for light unbelief is content with darkness


when jim campbell morgan said this he said but keep in mind there's a difference between doubt and unbelief unbelief is an act of the will while doubt is born out of a troubled mind and a broken heart listen i want to meet you this morning i don't want to go too far down the road with this but as christians particularly as christians who take seriously the call of christ to make disciples of all nations and to share christ with people who don't know him we need to learn the difference between doubt and unbelief and when we look at our test this morning our text this morning we see jesus encountering very both of those things very directly and responding remarkably different to each one he encounters the doubt of john the baptist and he encounters the unbelief of the pharisees and the lawyers and those who follow them and on the one hand he commends john and on the other hand he condemns them so when jesus encounters doubt he does one thing and when he counters unbelief he does something altogether different when he encounters doubt he commends the doubter and we see that in the first part of our text beginning beginning in verse 24.


the stage is set john's in jail put there by herod antipas he's been getting reports of the ministry of jesus the reports are are generating doubts in his mind and he's wondering when the world is going on because he's a faithful jew and just like all faithful jews he expected the messiah to show up and to do certain things and to be a certain way he expected particularly for the messiah to judge the wicked to throw off the romans to restore israel to her former glory and to establish his kingdom but his disciples are bringing back reports and he's not hearing one word of any of those things actually taking place he hears about jesus preaching he hears about jesus healing ministry and that's all and well and fine but however there's no sign of overthrowing rome there's no sign of him judging the wicked there's no sign of him establishing his own kingdom and restoring israel to its former glory and so he wonders did i get this all wrong have i got jesus wrong maybe he's not the messiah and so he sends two disciples to ask him hey are you the one are you the coming one or should we be looking for someone else and jesus instead of rebuking john


he condescends to john he meets him and is down and he graciously answers by giving a very vivid sort of living illustration of his identity for these disciples to take back to john and that's exactly what they do and john being a man of the old testament would have recognized in jesus answer the perfect answer to his question


jesus is indeed the one and i'm certain john was content with that though luke doesn't tell us but immediately on the heels of doing that jesus turns from these two disciples of john and he turns to the crowd and he begins to address those who've gathered and who are there watching him do the miracles and who are observing this interaction between he and the disciples of john and he asked them a question and he asked them a question three times and in this questioning he's giving this remarkable public commendation of john the baptist and the question that he asked them is really very simple the question is what did you go out into the wilderness to see he asked it three times the first two times are rhetorical and the answer is very obviously to anyone who's listening no what did you go out to see a reed shaken by the wind what did you go out to see when you went out to see john did you go out to see a weak and wavering sort of a preacher did you go out to see somebody who lacks certainty and is blowing back and forth in the winds of prevailing culture did you go out to see some wishy-washy preacher who didn't know what he believed and who couldn't quite figure anything out the answer to that question is obviously what absolutely not if john was anything or if john was not anything he was not a reed waving in the wind john was a man of bold and firm conviction he was an uncompromising preacher of the truth he was a man who said hard things that people did not want to hear and calling out people's sin and calling them to repent and be baptized as the symbol of their preparation for the coming messiah he preached with power and he preached with certainty and he preached with conviction and that's why people left the city and went all the way out to the jordan river to hear him not because he was weak and wavering but because he was sure and certain and convicted and powerful what did you go out to see did you go out to see a man in soft clothing what kind of preacher did you go out to here when you were to hear john did you go out to hear some some soft privileged self-indulgent preacher is that what you want to hear the word soft here is translated in other places effeminate what kind of preacher did you go out to hear when you went to the jordan river he says to the crowd did you go out to look to listen to some frilly lacy embroidered clothing wearing sort of man who wears the wardrobe of nobility is that who you went to see and the obvious answer to that question is no see if you answer i know you're awake the obvious answer to that question is no we know what john's wardrobe consisted of a camel's hair garment and a leather belt hardly calvin klein


he couldn't have cared less about what he wore and his food was locust and honey hardly roost chris


he was a man who was absolutely in every way not like the other preachers of his day he was a man who was the opposite of how the religious leaders in israel behaved and acted they were the ones who were soft frilly effeminate clothing and dressed and pranced around like nobility they were the ones who were wishy-washy all over the place pandering to people but john wasn't like that he wasn't like the religious elites of his society he was not a soft effeminate panderer who was living in sort of self-indulgent luxury and parading himself that isn't who the people went out to see they wanted to see that they didn't have to go anywhere all they had to do was stick around jerusalem


and so we asked them a third time what did you go out to see did you got to see a prophet


and the answer to that question is what yes indeed you did you went out to see a prophet but not just a prophet more than a prophet


the greatest of the prophets the last and the greatest of the prophets that's who john was he's the last and the greatest of the prophets the one prophesied by malachi chapter 3 verse 1 who would be the forward forerunner of the messiah no other prophet in the history of prophecy had the the role that john had he was the one and only prophet prophet who fulfilled malachi 3 1. he was the only one who had the privileged position of being the forerunner of the messiah no other prophet had that all other previous prophets predicted what predicted a messiah who would come john was the prophet who announced that the messiah is here


the olympics are going on and nobody's watching them but you know enough about the olympics to know that before the olympics show up somebody somewhere in the world starts carrying a torch and they run right from here to there to everywhere and they carry that torch through a bunch of different cities until it gets to wherever the olympics are going to be held and then somebody carries that torch up and lights a big flame that kicks off the olympics right that that torchbearer is the person who's running ahead of the olympics and announcing to all who will pay attention to the torch that's flaming that the olympics are coming right and his job is over when he lights the flame and the olympics are lit it's a good parallel to the ministry of john that's who he was he was the torchbearer running ahead saying i'm not the one that you should be concerned about but something in someone remarkable is coming


no other prophet in the history of prophets had that kind of status and had that kind of a role it set john above all the prophets all of the other prophets saw bits and pieces from a distance but john saw jesus face to face no other prophet had that remarkable privilege


and so john is called the greatest but not just the greatest prophet he goes on to say about john something that's really remarkable that he is the the greatest of who all those who are born of a woman now we don't have to push that analogy too far but you understand that those who are born of a woman are all those who were ever born right


i'm tempted to say things there but i'm not i'm just gonna move on beyond that but you understand the analogy as he means it that people who are born are born from a woman and john was one of those people and he was a person like every other person but he was in some sense the greatest of everyone who had ever been born up to that point that's a remarkable thing to say about a man who was at that very moment sitting in jail assailed by doubts to his faith think about that for a moment


not only does he not rebuke this man but he says to everyone who will hear he's the greatest man that's ever been up to this point he's the best the human race has had to offer what do we make of this well let me just say this the statement is not a statement that's based on john's merit though he was a remarkable individual the statement is based on his role as the forerunner of the messiah john was a remarkable individual he had a very unique position in the history of salvation he was the bridge from the old testament to the new he was the last of the old testament prophets while at the same time the first of the new testament preachers he was the bridge between sort of the era of promise and the era of fulfillment and it's that status as that individual who had a unique place in the history of humanity and a history of salvation it's in that sense that john is the greatest who ever lived up to that point and it becomes evident by jesus next comment because he says something that at first seems a little perplexing he says that yet the one who's least in the kingdom of god is what he's greater than john john's the greatest who's ever lived and yet he's who's least in the kingdom of god is greater than john it's a remarkable statement even the weakest newest christian is greater than john how is that even possible i was talking again here not by merit he's talking about and the broad scope of the history of salvation and the unfolding of salvation that even the newest and weakest christian is greater than john in the sense that he or she holds a more privileged place in the history of salvation even what john only saw in part we the the the weakest newest christian in the new testament era season full


we've been given the full gospel john only saw the beginning of it he only saw the beginning of the unfolding of that we see the whole thing he's sitting in jail wondering how it's all going to play out you and i and every other believer in the new testament error what he means by the kingdom of god here are people who understand how it all worked out we've been exposed to it all we're privileged because the mysteries of the old testament have been revealed to us in ways that the prophets never saw or even imagined you and i understand remarkable things that john didn't understand we understand the fulfillment of the life and the ministry of jesus all the way to the end we understand and have been exposed to his atoning death and his burial and his resurrection from the dead we've been exposed to and understand his offer of salvation to the gentile world and the inauguration and the growth of the church all throughout the book of acts and we understand the explanation of the work of christ in salvation because we have all the letters in the new testament and we see we've even seen a picture of the end times and the second coming of christ because we have the book of revelation we have the fullness of the gospel where john only saw a little fragment of it


and in that sense we have a more privileged position than he did


john in every old testament prophet had none of that stuff not to mention the indwelling of the holy spirit that we have


it's remarkable that jesus says these things but but more than anything instead of condemning his doubts he commends john to the crowd what a wonderful thing to say at about a man about a man in the lowest of his moments now jesus doesn't condemn honest doubt he didn't with john and he doesn't today if you're here this morning and you're wrestling with dallas and you're struggling with this you need to hear this this morning and you pay attention to this text because if it says anything it says you don't need to run away from god when you doubt you need to run to him you don't need to be ashamed that you have questions that you can't answer you don't need to be ashamed that that for the moment your faith is wavering pursue christ pursue the truth and he'll meet you there not with condemnation and not with words of harshness but with grace to meet you in that moment that's how jesus responds to doubt but it's not how he responds to unbelief and the rest of our text really lays that out and jesus gives sort of a parable here that is pretty easy to understand when you understand the cultural context he says to what shall i compare this people of this generation what are they like they're like children sitting in the marketplace calling out to one another we played the flute for you and you didn't dance we sang a dirge and you didn't weep or john the baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine you say he has a demon the son of man has come eating and drinking and you say look at him a glutton and a drunkard a friend of tax collectors and a sinner and sinners


yet wisdom is justified by all our children


he turns from talking about john and commending him in the midst of his doubt to talking about the crowd that's gathered there and he says you know i need to come up with an illustration to describe what the crowd is like this generation here what does he mean when he says this generation without spending a lot of time on context because our time is short we'll just simply understand it to mean this he's talking specifically to the pharisees and the lawyers who he identifies a little later and those who blindly follow them which is the majority of the crowd


how can i illustrate the responses of the god to the gospel from this generation of people he says here's an analogy you're like bratty selfish uncooperative kids those are not words of kindness by the way


you're like bratty selfish uncooperative kids i don't this is just a complete decide i thought i have to say this i i when i'm studying i'll read six depending on my text you know six to twelve commentaries to try and get some some understanding of the text and one of the ones i always go to is john mcarthur's commentary series he he did a whole message on this part of the text and called it the parable of the brats and in his commentary he defined brats this way a brat is this they're children who are unruly disobedient objectionable obstreperous refractory recalcitrant incorrigible obstinate and intractable


i read that and busted out laughing to be honest with you because i knew immediately i have to pull out a dictionary because i don't know what half of those words mean


so you can look them up for yourself i'm not even going to tell you what they mean just advice it to say they all refer to brattiness and you can use them in your interactions with your children you know this week when little johnny's misbehaving now little johnny you understand that you are being very obstreperous right now i don't know what that means mom okay you're being very refractory and you need to stop


it was just an aside for just because i thought it was funny what is this it does capture what jesus is talking about here he says what is this generation let me tell you what you're like you're like the kids that play around in the marketplace and in the culture people didn't have parks they didn't have playgrounds they didn't have places to go for children to play they would go to the central marketplace of the city which is where adults did their business and they would drag along the kids with them and so all the adults are going along doing their business kids do what kids do and what do kids do when they get together they play they play games they make up stuff to do and make up games to play and the games that they make up are largely reflective of the things that they experience in life and two of the games in this particular century that kids would often play together when they gathered at the marketplace were the games of wedding and the game funeral why do you think that is well those were two of the most celebratory things that they experienced in their culture and so they would mimic that and play games with one another so they'd play wedding and the kids would pretend like there was husband and there was wife and they would pretend like there was a flute playing and there was music and there was dancing and when you played wedding you danced and you were happy and you were joyful and you pretended like you were at a happy wedding and when you played funeral it was the opposite right you played a sad dirge and you went around and acted like you were mourning and crying and weeping like people do at funerals you say well it sounds kind of like dark they need to have better games well that's what they did jesus was in touch with his culture and he used illustrations out of real life this is what kids did but whenever there were kids gathered in jesus day just like whenever kids gather in our day there's always the one or two kids right that are obstreperous right that are refractory they don't cooperate and it doesn't matter what the game is they don't want to play that game if all the other kids are wanting to play wedding there's always the kid or two say i don't want to play wedding i don't want to play funeral and if they're all the other kids want to play funeral there's always a kid or two says i don't want to play funeral i want to play wedding and it doesn't matter what other people want to do they always want to do something altogether different

they're the spoiled brat kids the holdouts who have to have their own way or they won't participate

it's a really striking analogy and jesus says you know this generation is like that's what you're like you're like those kids you're like those uncooperative kids who don't ever want to go along with what's

happening doesn't matter what kind of message or what kind of messenger is delivered to you you're going to reject it because you're trapped in blind unbelief john came with a particular style and a particular message john came with a hard message of sin and of repentance and of acts being laid at the at the root of the tree and the judgment of god and john came with a very sort of hard delivery in a hard place with a sort of a hard affect about him and you rejected him you ultimately said he's demon possessed that's what's going on with that guy and then jesus comes along with the exact opposite message he comes along with a message of grace and mercy for sinners and he and he sits down with anybody whether they're a tax collector or whether they're a prostitute or whether they're a center of whatever flavor and he talks to them about grace and the mercy of god and the fact that they can repent of their sin and be saved and you look at him and you say oh he's a drunkard he's a he's a friend of sinners it doesn't matter who the messenger is however they bring the message you refuse to believe

your self-righteous spoiled brats who are wrapped up in unbelief

you wouldn't listen to john you won't listen to jesus you won't listen to anybody

you're people who have adopted the attitude my mind is made up don't confuse me with the facts

there are people just like that in our culture today they were trapped in unbelief they made a willful choice to reject the gospel of jesus christ and any messenger and any evangelist that comes and brings the gospel to them they'll find a fault they'll find a problem they'll find some reason to express their unbelief cynical skeptical mainly because the message of the gospel challenges their comfortable secure and self-centered lives and they will not give that up to repent and trust christ


when jesus responds to this kind of unbelief very differently than he did john's doubt he calls it out in very vivid terminology and then he moves on from it and that's sort of the track record of how he navigates with unbelief throughout his ministry


there's one piece that we didn't cover back in verse 29 and 30 i'll end with this luke gives us sort of a parenthetical con sort of um a comment right in the middle of recording what jesus said on this particular day he says when all the people heard this and the tax collectors too they declared god just having been baptized with the baptism of john but the pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of god for themselves not having been baptized by him


he gives us this i think in the midst of this sort of to call to our attention how people respond to the gospel how they respond to the truth of god when it's presented to them every time the truth of god goes out the people who hear it respond every single one responds everybody responds when they hear it when john the baptist preached he called for a response he called people to repent for the kingdom of god is at hand he called people to be baptized the symbolic baptism of cleansing of sin in preparation from the messiah and everybody who heard him preach made a conscious choice they repented or they didn't they got baptized or they didn't there was no other option it was just one or the other you respond with faith or you reject an unbelief the truth of god always divides the crowd

that was then and it has always been throughout the ministry of jesus today the way people respond to the gospel message

there is no third way

when you hear the gospel you respond in faith and embrace the lord jesus christ and entrust your life to him

or you're rejected in blind unbelief there's not a third way jesus said whoever is not with me is against me and whoever does not gather with me scatters he would say later enter by the narrow gate for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction and those who enter by it are many for the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life and those are who find it are few there's a wide gate and there's a narrow gate but there's only two gates there's an easy way and there's a hard way but there's only two ways the way of faith in the way of unbelief an unbelief can show up in a lot of different ways it could show up like the pharisees then the lawyers as a sort of a hostile combative sort of unbelief or unbelief can just simply show up as indifference or procrastination

the person who hears the truth of god in the gospel of jesus christ and says you know what i'll just i'll think about that later that's not a third way that's just a form of unbelief

and that's how the cloud the crowd split on this day and luke wants us to see that there are people who declared god just that's just a simply way a way of saying they admitted god was right about their sin and their need for repentance and they responded to it and i think it's interesting that he says including tax collectors he reminds us the kinds of people who tend to respond in faith are the people who are most desperate who can't hide from the fact that they're sinners

it's the people who think that they're righteous that have a problem but there's always those who believe who declare god just and say you know what god what you said is true and what you said is right i am a sinner and i have rebelled against you and i do deserve judgment in hell and my only hope is that you lord jesus would die in my place and i can entrust my life to you and somehow your death on my behalf could resolve the problem i have with sin and make things right between me and my heavenly father

but then there are always those like the pharisees and the lawyers who reject that they refuse to accept their sinners who refuse to accept that salvation comes by faith who refuse to accept that they need to repent and be baptized


we want to hold on to their religious works who want to hold on to the idea that somehow they can be good enough to earn god's favor