May 8 2022 - Are we Misunderstanding the Bible?

Lord, thank You for this morning – thank You for the newness. Give us grace and help us to give one another grace.

Luke 24: 13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

Two reasons their eyes were kept from recognizing Him – First – we looked at this last week – because only God can open our eyes to spiritual truth.

17 And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?"

There is some ‘Jesus humor’ in it – as if He didn’t know.

They stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him…

Cleopas – if you look at the beginning of Luke’s gospel – He talks about how he interviewed people and such – and this is a person who is only mentioned here – so one wonders if Luke interviewed him.

, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?"

There is this sense that Jesus is still a stranger to them…

19 He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.

Jesus had told them these things numerous times while He was with them – and they are still not getting it. Why are they not understanding? And why are they not recognizing Him?

21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place.

The second reason they didn’t recognize Him – they had inaccurate expectation issues of the Messiah based on a misunderstanding of Scripture. They were looking for one thing and got something else!

They had hoped He would redeem Israel – and that He was – but what kind of redeemer was He? They were looking for a redeemer like Moses – who liberated Israel from slavery and oppression in Egypt. They would read about this kind of Messiah – so, they were looking for one to restore the power and fortunes of the nations.

So, when Jesus suffered and died, they could not understand. He was a redeemer – who redeemed us from sin, death, and evil.

25 Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?"

When He says, How foolish you are… He is not being derogatory – but just saying – why don’t you understand? Why don’t you see this? Well, because of their expectations and presuppositions – that the Messiah would be a military leader like Joshua or David.

You should wear sunglasses if you are in the sun – and sometimes I clip them on and then forget that they are on – and I think it is getting dark…

That is what the Jewish people did – they read all the verses with the lenses of Jesus the conquering hero – the victorious warrior – and then get to Jesus saying – in all the prophets, in all the scripture – there is a theme of a suffering servant – and they couldn’t see it because they had these lenses on.

We can’t be too harsh with the disciples – first, this was a mystery – second – it is what everyone thought in those days.

Think about this: Can this be us, also? Do we have sunglasses on – things that we were taught throughout our Christian life – and as a result, are there things we are not understanding?

Probably most of what we have been taught is good – accurate and right.

But everyone – every Christian, has some stuff they have been taught that causes them to misunderstand what the Scriptures are saying.

Once upon a time (but this is true) – Groups of Christians began leaving the churches and denominations they were involved in. Several reasons – first – to start new churches that would restore the church back to the church of the New Testament. Second – the church was no longer concerned with the gospel mission – so they left to focus on the mission of the gospel. Third – they wanted to make personal discipleship a core part of the practice and function of the church. Finally – they wanted to return to having the all-things in common practice of Church body life. That was my early experience as a Christian – does that sound familiar – but that is not what I am talking about.

The first time this happened, they were kicked out of the established churches… and thousands of them were killed by the established churches and governing authorities.

They believed that the Scriptures taught the separation between the church and the state. And they believed in Believer’s baptism – this happened in 1525 – they were derogatorily called Anabaptists – rebaptizers.

There were two things going on – the protestant reformation – and they had the Holy Catholic Church and the Protestants were doing the persecuting – burning them at the stake (the chosen way of the Catholic church) or drowned by the protestants – because they wanted to be rebaptized. We owe so much to these early believers, but even THEY had all this wrong. How many Christians supported slavery and used the Bible to do so? We need to not think that we are immune to that! We are not!

How do we guard against this? There is a reality – because of our presuppositions – there are things we don’t understand – then we need to be like the Bereans who studied the scriptures every day to see if what they believed is really found there.

27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

Moses begins in Genesis 1:1 – and all the prophets – ends in Malachi 4:6

So, Jesus is interpreting the entire Bible to them (They didn’t have the New Testament at that point).

From Page 1 to the Final word – we believe that the Bible is a unified story that points to Jesus (The Bible Project)

This is one thing we can do to guard our understanding of Scripture. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to find Jesus in the whole Bible.

John and I had lunch – he was saying – there are these threads throughout the Old Testament that point to Jesus. We need to make the Bible all about Jesus and His work of salvation and what He has done for us.

I would say this too In order to maintain a high view of the authority of Scripture – the more I study it, the more important it becomes – in order to do that, we must have a Christo-centric reading of the Bible – Jesus is the focus, the center, and the climax of the story.

TO be faithful disciples and transformed into the image of Christ, we must have the Bible and our practices – orthodoxy and orthopraxy – I would like to put these together and look at a critical issue to the Church today.

This might be a little convicting – and I apologize for doing this before Mother’s Day Brunch!

We need a better theology of the tongue and speech. It is a real need in the church! And – we need to be better at the practice of gracious speech – let these words sit – let your speech always be gracious

Col. 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. (Eph. 4:29 NASB)

The practice of gracious speech! Now. A couple things this is not. It is not necessarily politeness and etiquette. This does not mean to be impolite. You can have proper etiquette and not have grace. It is not necessarily about the volume of your speech. My mom and her side of the family are Italian. My parents took us up to Connecticut to see our Grandparents Rocco and Sarah – watering tomato plants from a beer bottle – a real curmudgeon. My mom was a person of grace and gentleness – but boy were they loud, and boy, did it freak out Cindy.

And third – this is not about the occasional swear-word.

Unwholesome refers to perverted speech of all kinds – sexual and otherwise. Speech and improper speech affect relationships. Improper speech hurts others. James 3 is all about the tongue…

With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse people made in God's image. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.

SO, any speech that degrades or shames, or abuses, or puts down, manipulates, outbursts, speech that makes people feel inferior – that is what the Bible is talking about.

We can use these negative forms of speech by being mean or by being nice. The issue – Luke 6:45 "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

We need to focus on the heart. If, in our speech, we hurt or manipulate, or shame or put people down – there is a problem in our hearts that needs to be addressed.

The good part – James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.

What comes out if the heart is pure? Pure speech.

Peaceable – reconciles and restores relationships. It is gentle. It is willing to yield. To be willing to yield, we remove attitudes of superiority from us. You cannot yield if you think you are better or smarter than the other.

In closing – think of how transforming this – verse 17 – would be for relationships. Let’s go and practice this.

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