Sermon:  Accepting Your Jubilee

Summary:  Jesus proclaims freedom for the poor, captive, blind, and oppressed. 
But it takes more than speaking or thinking well of Jesus to receive it.  Before we
can accept Jesus and his freedom, we need to humbly acknowledge our true
condition.  Pride blinds us to our condition and causes us to reject the freedom
that Christ offers.  Like the widow at Zarepath and Naaman the Syrian, we need
to humbly accept our helpless condition before we can receive anything from

Know:  Humility is an absolute must in order to receive the Gospel.  There is no
room to feel arrogant toward outsiders, such as the gentile widow of Zarepath, or
Naaman the Syrian, or any outsider today.

Feel:  A sense of true humilty and it's accompanying joy in the Gospel, not guilt,
low self esteem, or wounded pride which can masquerade in false humilty.

Do:  Reflect on the sources of pride, guilt, and low self esteem in your life and
how each of these are related to each other.  Identify ways these have
hampered your service & relationship to God, brethren, family and outsiders.

Text:  Luke 1:48-52

Scripture Reading:  Prov. 16:5

1. Inner city ministry in London 100 yrs ago - many ex-criminals and such
	a.  One day, judge knelt before ex-burglar at communion
	b.  Afterward talking to the minister - Did you see who next to me?
	c.  What a miracle of grace
2.  Jesus can change any heart that opens to him - but some don't open to him
3.  Luke 1:48-52 
	a.  Jesus began his ministry with fame and popularity
	b.  Jesus preaches in his home town synagogue
		- Reads, then sits to preach
		- Intitial favorable comments
		- Didn't get to finish the service
		- People didn't receive any blessing that day
4.  Do you want God's blessing?  Freedom?  True healing?  Salvation?
	a.  What will it take?
	b.  Look deeper in this passage
	c.  We can avoid what happened in Nazareth.  How?

I.  Acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God
	A.  Towns people okay with "Son of Joseph"
		1.  Son of Joseph got compliments and praise
		2.  Jesus not impressed when they say, "good sermon"
			a.  God wants committement, not compliments
			b.  They weren't "getting it" at first
			c.  Jesus is not just "Joseph's Son."
		3.  Luke has been careful to show Jesus is God's son
			a.  Not just some great preacher
			b.  But all towns people wanted to see was Joseph's son
	B.  Many still have the problem today
		1.  All they want to see is the "son of Joseph"
			a.  They see a sage, apocalyptic preacher, revolutionary
			      good teacher, rabbi, philosopher
			b.  Loved children, poor, taught of love
			c.  Compare him to Buddah, Socrates, Ghandi
			d.  Have good things to say about Jesus, but it ends there
		2.  ILL:  Book - DaVinci Code
			a.  Best seller for almost a year
			b.  Jesus a fabrication of Constantine
			c.  Holy Grail code word for descendants of Jesus
			d.  Jesus was married to Mary Magdelene
		3.  This sort of thing is nothing new
			a.  People come up with wild theories for years
			b.  They want Son of Joseph, but not Son of God
	C.  Jesus is the Son of God - What does that mean?
		1.  Usually take that confession at baptism - what does it mean?
		2.  He is God's unique son - Jn 3:16
			a.  No one is Son of God like Jesus is
			b.  He is the word become flesh
		3.  He is the Messiah - Ps. 2
			a.  The anointed one - savior deliverer
			b.  He is King and Lord
		4.  Peter's First Sermon in Acts 2
			a.  Acts 2:36 - God has made him BOTH Lord and Christ
			b.  Christ = Messiah = Anointed one = deliverer/savior
			c.  Many want "Son of Joseph" but not Lord and Christ
			d.  Result = Things like the Davinci Code
	D.  Do we ever do anything like that?
		1.  If we do, maybe it is more subtle
		2.  Do we ever say, "good class" or "good sermon"
			a.  That is what they told Jesus initially
			b.  But compliments had no substance
			c.  Takes more than saying a sermon, or Jesus is good
		3.  Jesus is not just the Son of Joseph, but the Son of God
			a.  He is Savior and Lord
			b.  Some don't want a Lord, they want a Savior
			c.  Some don't even want a Savior
		4.  To accept him as savior and Lord means ownership
			a.  Ownership of all of you
			b.  Ownership of your sin, heart, mind, body, possessions
			c.  In order to do that, he must take ownership of your pride

II.  Acceptance of your true condition
	A.  The towns people didn't get it at first
		1.  Jesus preached good news
			a.  Gospel to the poor
			b.  Release to the captives
			c.  Recovery of sight to the blind
			d.  Freedom for the oppressed
		2.  He preached the "favorable year of the Lord"
			a.  Background in "Jubilee" of Leviticus 25
			b.  Meant time of rest and restoration
				- Slaves set free, debts forgiven
				- Land reverts back to original owner
				- Get a new start
			c.  No matter how deep you are in, can get out at Jubilee
		3.  Towns people's response - 
			a.  Oh, that's nice,  Good sermon Jesus
			b.  They still didn't get it
	B.  Jesus had to get blunt
		1.  He tells them THEY are blind
			a.  Physician heal yourself
			b.  They applying message to others but not themselves
		2.  He tells them THEY are poor
			a.  v.23 - They wanted signs but not get any why?
			b.  Jesus compares them to most spiritually impoverished 
			      period of Israelite history - Time of Elijah
			c.  Elijah not sent to any Israelite widows
			d.  Only sent to gentile widow at Zarephath, south of Sidon
		3.  He tells them THEY are oppressed and captive
			a.  Many lepers in Israel during Elisha, but none cleansed
			b.  Only one healed was gentile Naaman the Syrian
	C.  Towns people's problem - They were too generous
		1.  When hear a sermon, they get generous with it
			a.  This applies to so and so, and that to this person, or that
			b.  Gave it all away, and none left for themselves
		2.  When Jesus dropped in squarely in their laps, they offended
			a.  Good, respectable, family value synagogue members
			b.  They were all buttoned up, all together
			c.  They would say, "good sermon" thinking it apply to others
			d.  How dare he compare them to Israel in Elijah's time
		3.  They didn't accept their true condition
			a.  Didn't accept they were poor, captive, blind, oppressed
			b.  Greatly offended by Jesus, wanted to kill him
			c.  Why react so violently, why so defensive?  Truth hurts
			d.  They rejected Jubilee, remained in bondange
	D.  We must see our true condition
		1.  Jesus came for poor, captive, blind, oppressed
		2.  Can't get Jubilee if not accept that this is what you are
		3.  If deny in debt, enslaved, poor, etc. will remain that way
		4.  But if come to him, he will free us

III.  What will it take - Acceptance of Honest Reflection
	A.  Reflect on both the bad and the good
		1.  The bad - We are poor, wretched, helpless, broken
		2.  The good - Jesus brings Jubilee
	B.  Why spend time in honest reflection
		1.  It will prevent false humility
			a.  Some think humility means being humiliated
				- Head down, beat self up, low self esteem, sinners
				- This is often pride disguised as humility
				- Difference between wounded pride and humility
			b.  False humility beats self up
				- Haven't accepted true condition - beat self up
				- Try to be what can't be - high view of self - pride
				- Not think more highly of self than ought to Rm 12:3
				- ILL: I used to be myself up after preaching, not good 
				   enough, that wounded pride
				- Haven't accepted HIS Jubilee, try to get it on own
			c.  False humility gets defensive
				- Because have not accepted true condition
			d.  False humility can even lash out
				- False humility is actually wounded pride
				- Pride ultimately leads to dispair
		2.  Honest reflection will give true joy and peace
			a.  Accept true condition - and accept his jubilee
			b.  Brings joy and peace, not self loathing
			c.  God loves me unconditionally, not because of 
		3.  (Phil 2:12-13) - Chapter is about humility
			a.  Work with fear and trembling (not pride) why?
			b.  GOD is at work in you to will and to work
				- You can't even will to work for him on your own
				- Apart from the true vine, can do nothing
			c.  Pride has everything to do with me and not God
				- What I can do and accomplish, which is nothing
				- Lead to defensiveness, meanness or self loathing
			d.  Humility has everything to do with God, not me
				- Is is about what God can accomplish
				- No reason for self loathing or defensiveness
	C.  Conclusion of story of inner city ministry in London over 100 years ago
		1.  City churches had a lot of ex-criminals, poor, outcasts
		2.  Communion taken up front - Judge next to ex-burglar
			a.  Afterwards, judge talking to minister
				- Did you see who next to me this morning?
				- What a miracle of grace, said the judge
				- Yes, a miracle of grace indeed, said minister
			b.  Judge stopped and asked
				- To whom are you referring to?
				- Why the burglar, of course
				- Judge said - No, I was talking about me
				- Minister confused
			c.  Judge went on to explain
				- Not suprising that burglar cam to Christ, could see 
				   his need for Christ
				- But I was taught a gentleman all my life
				- Good family, school, said prayers, Oxford degree
				- I thought I was all I needed, but I am a sinner
			d.  Judge continued
				- So here I am, kneeling because of God's grace
				- I'm the miracle!
		3.  No sense of pride in the judge at all
	D.  In reflection we should then say
		1.  Not - Look at what I have done, but look at what God has done
		2.  Need to spend time in honest reflection, prayer
		3.  Honest reflection enables to accept your condition, then Jesus, 
		     then his Jubilee

1.  Have you accepted his jubilee? (invitation)
2.  Are you accepting your true condition?
	a.  Is pride getting in the way?  CLothing, job, upbringing, etc.
	b.  Is false humility getting in the way (wounded pride)
		- Beat self up, low view of self, defensiveness, meanness, etc.
	c.  This will affect your relationship with God, and with others
		- Reflect more on this in life groups.

Questions for Small Group Discussion