"THE BIG PICTURE!"
TEXT: Luke 18:31-34
INTRO: The one advantage of growing older is the ability for one to understand how wonderful Godís work is in your life, you gain perspective as you age when you look back and see the hand of God and His leading.
Even things in your past that perplexed you, those times when you seriously wondered where God was, why in the world did He allow this tragic thing to happen, all of those huge question marks in life begin SOMETIMES to reveal Godís overall picture for your life.
I suspect that one of the reasons many older Christians seem so content, so at peace with God is that they have learned to not only see this, but to actually appreciate Godís overall hand operating in their past lives, and thus it gives a sense of great peace about the present and the future hand of God in their lives.
The ability to stay steadfast TODAY in the midst of heavy trials literally hangs on how well you learn to trust God with the BIG PICTURE of your life.
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that God has His hand operating in our lives ALL OF OUR LIVES, not just when we feel blessed or His presence seems so real, He is especially at work during those times when we DONíT see the the big picture. ďTHOSE WHO WALK WITH GOD CAN NEVER LOSE THEIR WAYĒ!
I. NO SURPRISES! Luke 18:31
A. Disicples Prepared! Luke 18:31a
1. The paths we walk through life do not catch the Lord by surprise!
a. Jesus not only knew what was coming, He was determined to follow the path His Father had set for Him.
b. It would not always be a pathway of comfort, in fact for Jesus it was about to be the path to a horrible misunderstood death.
(1. How we handle horrible situations will depend on how well we trust God with the paths He allows us to take!
(2. There will be tough times in life, it is not always because of sin, or because God is angry, sometimes it is just the path of life in a fallen world where terrible things sometimes happen.
c. The disciples had a fixed theology
in their minds of what walking with God would be like, and how the
d. Unfortunately, it was a bad theology!
e. The consequences of bad theology is that we lose sight of a loving God that will ALWAYS be with us!
f. This is why is it so critical to know your Bible, and to thus know your God Ė so that during times of stress and storms your eyes stay on Jesus and not on the circumstances of life!
ILLUS: Like Peter when he got out of the boat, as long as his eyes were on Jesus he was walking on the water, but once he got distracted and saw the storm he began to sink.
2. Jesus was about to share with His disciples what was coming Ė He knew even after He shared that they would not get it, at least for the moment!
a. Jesus had pulled them aside to let them in on the course they were all about to travel.
b. In doing this He was trying to prepare them to stay steady and not lose heart.
c. However when the moment came they lost sight of everything Jesus said plainly to them!
d. Instead of confidence, they scattered when the moment came.
B. Determined Path! Luke 18:31b
1. Jesus clearly sets out for His disiciples that what was coming was a determined path, it was set in the plan of God for the world.
a. Had they grasped this, they would not have had to become so fearful and distressed.
b. The Scriptures are the most accurate writings the world has ever received Ė if you really want to stay in peace no matter what happens be a student of Godís Word!
2. Jesus was grounding the future event in the facts of the Bible, it was recorded long ago through many prophets and Godís Word that this was Godís plan for the Messiah.
3. Their faith might not have faltered had they understood the Word of God better.
4. And they would not have felt so distressed that all was lost had they accepted the Word of God written long ago.
5. This is still true today!
6. Indeed the Bible still holds the truths about reality that fit any generation, no matter what man says about the Word of God, man cannot change what God has said is true.
7. Too many Christians today are freaking out about how much our culture is changing, how sin is abounding - as I read the Bible it clearly states that the gates of Hell itself will not destroy the Church or Godís Word, why do we fret so?
II. NECESSARY SOLUTION! Luke 18:32-34
A. Difficult Problem! Luke 18:32-33a
1. Jesus said clearly that He will be delivered over to the Gentiles and flocked and beaten and killed!
a. Jesus was telling them a horrible immediate future!
b. Nothing in this sounded good.
c. The disciples simply did not have any place in their theological mind for this kind of event.
d. Jesus was sharing this NOW so they wouldnít lose heart later, nor lose perspective!
2. However, when the moment came they were confused, frustrated, fearful, and they ran from Jesus
a. It is likely you will do this too if you donít grasp that God has a big picture to your life.
b. It is understandable for people who donít have faith in God to react this way, it is not normal for Godís people to react to tragedy this way.
3. If we fail to grasp the overall picture of Godís love for us through an entire lifetime we will fail to live in faith, in peace, and in joy.
a. Iíve done this myself!
b. Even as a Christian Iíve done this!
B. Deliverance Promised! Luke 18:33b
1. Jesus however understood that without context they would easily fall away, so He gives them here the larger context!
a. Yes, He will be delivered up, yes he will be flogged, yes he will be crucified and buried - BUT
b. He will rise again on the 3rd day!
c. Jesus will not stay dead, and indeed, this whole tragic event is Godís plan to bring salvation to potentially the whole world!
d. God had purpose in all this, and the Son of God will not be defeated, only the devil will lose!
2. The good news (the ďGospelĒ) is that Jesus would rise again the 3rd day!
3. Jesus was not giving them a horror story, He was sharing with them Godís Word and plan for the whole world, including them.
a. If this is all true with Jesus, it will also be true for us.
b. Didnít Jesus Himself say to His disciples before He returned to Heaven, John 16:33 (NIV) "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
c. Yes, there are going to be horrible things happen to good people, but even when that is true God is more than aware of the situation, He is actually there to carry us through it Ė it will fit into the bigger picture of our lives redemptively.
ILLUS: Story of my older brother Gary who was killed by terrorists from a bomb on a plane years ago, and how after 42 years I met a man who had his life changed from my sister in law who had remarried Ö and understanding Godís bigger picture in taking my brother when he was younger, a pain I never understood why God allowed that, and my journey of understanding. God had a bigger picture in mind than I did.
4. There may be things in our lives that never make sense this side of eternity, but you can trust God that they are not without His knowledge, consent, and purposes which will only fulfill His redemptive plan for your life
a. However, if we fail to understand this we may live in a state of misery, or misunderstanding Godís love for us!
b. It is possible to be a miserable Christian who fails to have genuine ďjoyĒ in their life Ė just fail to trust in the sovereign purposes of God for you life.
c. The final chapter hasnít been written.
5. Sometimes, we will be allowed to see the connections, but many times we may not.
6. When we canít, we must still stand in faith!
C. Disciples Paralyzed! Luke 18:34
1. This last verse is a tragic one, and set the stage for the predicted fall away of the disciples when the moments came for Godís plan to be put into full effect.
2. No wonder they found no peace when things went crazy, no wonder they fled because their expectations of what God should have done were not met, no wonder they were afraid Ė after all if they did this to Jesus they will likely do as much to them.
3. Their failure to understand the ďBIG PICTUREĒ cost them needless pain, doubt, fear, and no peace!
4. Yes, they might have still been deeply hurt had they accepted what Jesus had told them, but their confidence in God would have allowed them to be sorrowful, but not faithless.
5. The same Jesus who had a big picture for them, has one for you too - donít throw away your great confidence of faith!
James 1:2-4 (NIV)
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
CONCLUSION: This journey through life is more than likely to throw you a few courves Ė yes, even great Christians experience tough times, and perplexing events in their lives. Sometimes they can even be so perplexing that we wonder why God allows them, or even whether God is there! But, God is working out His good and perfect will on every believer, and though we donít always see the ďWHYĒ of things, we can be sure that He is at work to perfect us in our walk with Him. Trust Him! Like the old song says, ďTrust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.Ē