Luke – Wide Open Doors!
Luke 13, New Living Translation
A Call to Repentance
About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. 2 “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? 3 Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. 4 And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? 5 No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
Jesus came to earth from heaven to seek and to save the lost. Because He is God in the flesh, who moved into the neighborhood of His own creation, He knows what He is talking about. Jesus is the Way to salvation of our souls and a glorious relationship with God. Jesus speaks the Truth with compassion, tenacity, wisdom, and unconditional love, mercy and grace. Jesus is the way and the truth to abundant Life like no other life ever lived. It is a life of truth, a life of joy in and through all circumstances of this life, and it is Life eternal with Him.
Jesus reminds us of our part in this eternal equation of having a new and abiding relationship with God the Father. We must repent. “Unless we repent, we will perish.” We must lay down our selfishness, pride, control of our own destiny, hate, jealousy, wanting our own way with everyone and God, and thinking only of ourselves and repent of all the ways we have been living without Him. New life begins when we sincerely repent with heart’s desire never to return to the scene of the crime of self.
Can we live this new life on our own power and good intentions? No. We enter a battle with the evil one who wants to keep us lost and selfish so we can be destroyed. Satan will do everything in his limited power to distract you from your new life with Jesus. So, we must daily lay down our will for Jesus’ will. Bow at the feet of Jesus in prayer with a listening heart. He wants the best for us. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. HE will fight your battle because HE has already won this war.
I am reminded of Paul’s words to the Romans, “I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
What does God find “acceptable”? Holiness from Him through our repentance and remorse that is honest. Micah, the prophet of God says it best,
“What can we bring to the Lord?
Should we bring him burnt offerings?
Should we bow before God Most High
with offerings of yearling calves?
Should we offer him thousands of rams
and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Should we sacrifice our firstborn children
to pay for our sins?
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.”
(Micah 6:6-8 NLT)
We only bring ourselves in humble repentance to Him in the Name of Jesus Christ who paid the debt of our sin. Our work is to now walk in the Way Jesus taught us to walk…do what is right in God’s eyes, be merciful and kind, and walk humble with God! Nothing in this world we can bring to Him is fitting for our Lord…only the emptying of ourselves…so we can be filled with all of Him.
To repent and be saved means leaving and being saved from this world’s thinking and behaving and living a new Life that bears the fruits of the characteristics of Jesus Christ, our Lord. What are the fruits that will begin to show up in lives yielded to Christ?
“…the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.” Galatians 5:22-26, NLT)
THIS is what it means to find, repent of the sins of the old life, do a 180, and follow Christ. New life is, well…NEW, not like the old!
Are we there yet? Prayerfully we are on our way, His way!
Because if we are not bearing fruit….
Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
6 Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. 7 Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’
8 “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. 9 If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”
Sometimes I feel like Jesus, our Savior, who is our advocate, (speaks up for us), to God the Father and says, “Give them one more chance to come to you, to grow in you and bear the fruits of your Holy Spirit.” Maybe this is stretching our thinking a bit, but consider this thought. Jesus died on a cross for all our sin which tells of the depth of His love and compassion for us. I don’t want to just take up space in the “garden” without bearing the fruits of His Holy Spirit. But I realize I do need his “special attention and plenty of help (fertilizer)” some days when I feel like I am stunted in my growth. He comes and sets me straight, clears away the debris and weeds, and provides the water I need to grow and bear His fruit once more. Hallelujah!
What do you think?
Are you stuck and stunted in your growth?
Do you need help?
Ask God in Jesus Name and He will provide all you need to continue to grow once more.
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
Thank you for speaking to our hearts about what you want for us. Thank you for tending to our growth with your nurturing hand. Thank you for loving us the way you do. Thank you for renewing my mind and restoring my soul through repentance of going my own way that leads nowhere. Continue to do what you must so I will grow into all you intended me to be. You are God and I am not. You know what is best always.
In Jesus Name, Amen