Robert Jeffress - 24 - Part 1
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Every person has an important role to play, maybe you're a student, a parent, an employee, or a boss, most likely you're juggling multiple responsibilities at once, but knowing your job is not the same thing as knowing your purpose. So today we're going to look at a 24-hour period in the life of our Savior in order to discover our own God-given purpose. My message is titled "24" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
Every now and then I'll have a sermon illustration that I think is just going to be great and it doesn't quite work out the way I plan. In fact, sometimes it backfires, that happened a number of years ago, I was getting ready to prepare, to preach a message on, the importance of finding your purpose in life, that all of us have a purpose in life and how we need to discover God's given purpose and so the week before the message, I had an incident that thought, this going to be a great illustration. Amy and I, the week before, we're traveling to Florida for a pastors conference, when we got to DFW airport, we noticed that at almost every departure gate, there was a group of women, all dressed alike in purple, and wearing these funny Red Hats.
And sure enough, we got on our plane, there was a whole group of these women sitting at the back of the plane and the whole plane they were whooping and hollering and you know obviously, had spent too much time at the airport bar, but that's another story, one of those ladies had gotten separated from her group and so she was seated next to us and they didn't have any identification on them, so I said to this lady just making conversation, I said, tell me about your organization, she said, well, we're not an organization we're a disorganization. I said, okay, well, what's the purpose of your dis-organization? She said, well, we call ourselves the Red Hats and it's for women who are 50 and older, and we have no other purpose than to have a good time in life, that's what we do. And so I thought well there's a great illustration.
So the next Sunday, I just said kind of a humorous way to my congregation, now there's a great illustration of the unpurpose driven life, I didn't realize up until that moment, how many Red Hats were members of my church at that moment, they had been flying under the radar, believe me I heard from them the next week, they didn't appreciate it and not only that apparently word began to spread throughout the 20.000 chapters of the Red Hats around America, that this pastor in Wichita Falls had said something not very nice about the Red Hats, not only was I barraged by letters, but for the next year, literally every Sunday, I would look out in the congregation and see a whole group of Red Hats there, anytime they traveled through Wichita Falls, they would come by to harass the pastor of the First Baptist Church and they would sit there and glare at me throughout the entire message.
Well finally I made my amends with the Red Hats, they continued to come, but we would have a good time and after the service I'd had my picture taken with them, sometimes I'd put on the red hat myself so they could have their picture taken with me and now in my office, I have a whole collection of red hat figurines that they have sent me from every part of the country to remind me what a great group there they are. So let me say at the beginning, I love the Red Hats, I love Red Hats, there's nothing wrong with Red Hats. The fact is there really isn't anything wrong with having fun in life. Even the Word of God says that, remember in Ecclesiastes chapter two, Solomon said "For what is better for a man to eat and drink and say that his labor is good for who can eat and drink and have enjoyment without God"?
We all ought to have fun, but that shouldn't be the driving force of our life. God has created us for a bigger purpose than just having fun. What is that purpose? Well if we're a Christian, God has called us to the same purpose of his son. His son came to seek and to save those who are lost and if you're really a follower of Jesus Christ, the reason God has left you and me here is to expand the Kingdom of God. The kingdom means the rule of God. That means we need to take back territory that was turned over to Satan and reclaim it for God. That means we are constantly rescuing people from the domain of Satan and rescuing them and delivering them into the kingdom of Jesus Christ and once we do that, once we share the Gospel with them and they become a part of the Kingdom of God, we help them grow in their relationship with God.
We produce obedient and reproducing disciples of Christ, that was Christ mandate to us wasn't it? To go into all the world and to make disciples, you know, the apostle Paul understood that purpose in Colossians 1:28 and 29, "And he said, and we proclaim Christ, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom that we might present, every man complete in Christ and for this purpose, he said, I also labor striving according to his power, which mightily works within me".
You know, some of you may be thinking, well this idea of making disciples, winning people to Christ, helping them grow in their faith, that's what we pay you for pastor I mean you're a paid professional, you get your paycheck from the church, we pay pastors and missionaries to do that for us. That's not what Paul said, remember, a lot of Paul's life he was a layman, he and earned his living by making tents, but even though his living was made by making tents, his real calling was making disciples. It's not about where you get your paycheck from, we have all been called to the same ministry of winning people to Christ and helping them grow in their faith. That's the only reason God left us here instead of taking us to heaven.
Now, some of you by right now are almost in the third stage of anesthesia, you're about to doze off, you're about to think, boy, this doesn't apply to me, I wish he would preach on something that really is going to apply to me. If that's your thought right now, it only shows you how self-focused your life is. God has called all of us to that singular purpose but I also realize there are many of you here, many of you watching on Pathway to Victory, and you understand that calling, you really want to have a purpose filled life, you want to experience God's supernatural power and know that you're being used for a purpose greater than yourself. The question is you may be saying, how can I do that more effectively? How can I make my life make a difference in other people's lives? Well, that's what we're going to talk about this morning. That's what we're going to talk about is we understand how to live out our purpose in life.
You know, there's a reason that God gave us four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The reason he gave us these four Gospels was not just to tell us about the death of Jesus for our sins, but to share something about the life of Jesus, to be a disciple of Christ means to imitate the life of Jesus and what I'm saying to you this morning is if you really want to know how to live a power packed, purpose filled life, just look at what Jesus did and that's what we're going to do this morning. We're going to talk about four components of Jesus' life that made him such an effective person during the time he was on earth. If you have your Bibles, I want you to turn to Luke chapter four, Luke chapter four.
Now I have to confess, I still like to watch reruns of the old TV show 24, how many of you remember 24? You remember counter-terrorist Jack Bauer? And the reason it was called 24 was every season had 24 episodes, and each episode represented one hour in Jack Bauer's life. The whole season was just one day in his life, 24 hours, it was told in real time, well that wasn't original, actually Luke used the same format in the passage we're looking at today. In this passage we're going to discover what 24 hours in the life of Jesus looked like. And I want you to notice in those 24 hours of his life, how he balanced his life with four different key components that made him so effective. Number one, his life was marked by authoritative teaching, authoritative teaching was centered to his ministry.
Look at Luke 4:31, "And he came down to Capernaum". What do you mean he came down to Capernaum? Remember he had been in Nazareth, his hometown ministering there in the synagogue, then he traveled 20 miles to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and he was teaching them on the sabbath. Capernaum became his home base for his ministry. And the Bible says that part of his ministry was regularly teaching in the synagogue. The Greek tense here indicates this wasn't a one-time action, central to Jesus' life was teaching and teaching the Word of God. You know, Jesus believed in the power of God's word, he believed like we read this morning in Hebrews 4:12, "That the Word of God is alive, it's active and a sharper than any two-edged sword". James 1:21 says that "It is the Word of God implanted in a person's life that is able to save his soul".
And if you and I are going to be serious about really helping people change their lives, transform their lives, than the Word of God is going to be central in our ministry. People are never going to be changed by your words or my words they're changed by God's words. Let me illustrate that for you, who is the most powerful person in the world? Who is he? Most people would agree, the president of the United States is the most powerful person in the world and yet who here today could stand up and recite one sentence from the last state of the union address by the president? Or not even this past president, the president before him or the president before him? Isn't it funny, we can't even remember the words of the most powerful person in the world, if that's true, how many of your words will people remember? Or how many of my words?
People aren't changed by our words, but they are changed by the Word of God, Jesus understood that. Look at verse 32, "And they were amazed at Jesus' teaching for his message was with authority". What is it that gave Jesus message authority, impact? It wasn't his charisma, it wasn't his booming voice, no, there are three characteristics that made Jesus teaching impactful. First of all, his teaching was rooted in God's word, it was rooted in God's word. When you look at Mark's parallel account of this passage, it says, "For he was teaching them as one having authority and not as the scribes".
The scribes where the teachers in the synagogues and William Barclay notes that whenever the scribes stood up to preach their teaching was as dry as dust because they would quote this expert and this rabbi, they would quote from this tradition, rarely did they ever make any reference to the Word of God, they put people to sleep, it didn't change their lives. But not Jesus, he understood the importance of the Word of God. We've got a great illustration of that in Matthew chapter 19, remember the pharisees were trying to trap Jesus and so they said, Jesus, we want to ask you about a very confusing topic, a very controversial subject, the topic of divorce, we want to know what you think about divorce. Now, rabbi so-and-so says this about divorce and rabbi so-and-so says this, what do you say about this complex subject of divorce?
Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 19 verse four, he said, it's not complex at all, he said, have you not read? And then he went back to the Old Testament. He said, just look at what the Bible says, it is not confusing, he said, have you not read that he who made them from the beginning, made them male and female, for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh, what God has joined together let no man divide. He said, it's not a confusing topic. God said, I've made a man and a woman to be united together forever in a marriage relationship, don't tear that apart. That's what God says about marriage and divorce, it's not that confusing.
By the way, Jesus words there have a great deal to say about the current controversy over transgender identification, people are all confused, gee, how should we as Christians respond to transgender? And what do we say to the world? And this counselor says this and this psychiatrist says that, hey, it's not that confusing. In Matthew 19:4, again, God's words are applicable, the Bible says, have you not read God made them from the beginning, male and female, not male, female and question mark, there is a male and a female.
God is the one who has determined how many sexes there are, there are two not three, male and female, and let me just say this very, very clearly, transgender confusion, gender identity confusion is an emotional disorder, they should be treated professionally and compassionately, gender identity confusion should not be exploited, this is not hatred, Christian should never ridicule or show hatred for those experiencing gender confusion, they shouldn't do that at all, we ought to treat them lovingly and the most loving thing we can do for somebody who suffering from gender confusion is to assure them that their gender is not a mistake, it's a part of a loving, perfect plan of God for their lives, that's the message of the Bible, it's really clear when you use God's word, God's word clears up a lot of confusion.
Jesus always rooted his teaching in God's word. Secondly, his teaching was filled with application, you know, in far too many churches today, far too many Sunday school classes, the teacher or the pastor just works all week you know, coming up with this historical background and the meaning of this word and this word and puts it all together and kind of loads it in his dump truck and then Sunday arrives and the pastor and the Sunday school teacher just dumps all the stuff on the people, just dumps all this content, all this knowledge and the people just leave dry, unfulfilled, because there's been no application.
Ladies and gentlemen, the reason God gave us his word is not to make us smarter sinners, God gave us his word so that we can know how to obey him more faithfully, and if you're a pastor watching this message, if you're a Sunday school teacher listening to this, if you don't answer the so what question at the end of your message, if you don't use that biblical truth to instruct people on how to change their lives, to obey Christ, you've missed the whole point of the scriptures.
Notice when Jesus taught, he just didn't convey information whether he was teaching through the parables or the sermon on the mount or the Olivet discourse about the end times, there was always a practical application of what to do, that's what Jesus did, his teaching was filled with application. Thirdly, his life was lived out, his teaching was lived out in integrity. That word integrity literally means to be whole, to be one. When we say a person has integrity, it means all of his life fits together, there's no part of his life out of alignment, there's no dichotomy between what he says and how he actually lives.
Again, teachers listening to this, pastors don't be like the pharisees, you know, the pharisees had no integrity, they taught one thing, they lived out another thing, Jesus said about them "You hypocrites, you tie on heavy loads on the backs of men, of what they're supposed to do and you're unwilling to do those things yourself". And that's why the pharisees had no authority in their teaching, people knew they weren't serious about what they were saying. By the way, the same is true for us, our words are going to fall flat, if we don't live with integrity, if we tell other people to tithe and we don't tithe, if we tell other people they need to pray, but we don't pray, if we tell other people they need to live morally pure lives and yet our lives are filled with immorality, we lose all of our authority in our teaching, Jesus lived the truth that he taught.
What made Jesus so powerful? First of all, his life, his ministry was rooted in teaching the Word of God that changes people's lives. Secondly, his life was marked and characterized by supernatural power. You know, I heard one British pastor lament after the apostle Paul used to preach the people rioted, after I preach my people go out and have tea. Well, I understand that lament, but when Jesus taught it not only stirred up the people, it also stirred up the demons. Look at verses 33 to 37. "And there was a man in the synagogue possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon and he cried out with a loud voice hah, what do we have to do with you Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are the holy one of God and Jesus rebuked him saying, be quiet and come out of him and when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him without doing him any harm and amazement came upon them all and they began discussing with one another saying, what is this message? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits and they come out and the report about him was getting out into every locality in the surrounding district".
Now I know the story raises all kinds of questions, we've talked about demons before in my series, the divine defense and I encourage you to get that series if you want an in-depth study of demons, but let me just make three important points about demons and then apply it to our lives today. First of all, this passage, the story reminds us that demons are real, some people have said, well, this idea of demons, that's just a crude first century attempt to explain a mental illness, you know, they didn't know what it was and so they called it demons, demons are just some attempt to explain mental illness, well if that's true, then Jesus ought to be put in a straight jacket and locked up in an asylum because Jesus was talking to demons, he was interacting with them and they were talking to him so something was going on there, the fact is demons are real spirit beings.
Paul talks about them in Ephesians six, verses 11 and 12, he said, "Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes, the plan, literally the blueprint that the devil has for your life". But the devil is not like God, the devil is not omnipresent, he can't be more than one place at a time, he's a created being. So if he could only be in one place at a time, how does he accomplish his purpose in your life? It's found in verse 12, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, plural, against the powers, plural, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places". He's talking about demons here.