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A SAVIOR FOR THE POOR

 

BIBLE TEXT – READ (LUKE 4:16-22)

 

From this portion of scripture, in the Bible, the Word of God, we learn that there was a particular day and time when the Lord Jesus Christ returned to Nazareth, the place where he had been brought up.  He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.  He was given the book or scroll of the prophet Isaiah.  He read from the scripture portion that we now know in our Bible as (Isaiah 61:1, 2).  It says in, (Luke 4:17) “HE OPENED THE BOOK and found the place it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  And HE CLOSED THE BOOK”.  He stopped reading in the middle of (Isaiah 61:2) and did not read the words, “and the day of vengeance of our God”.  The Lord Jesus went on to say in, (verse 21) “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears”. 

                       

These two simple actions by Christ are very significant AND FULL OF MEANING FOR EVERY PERSON BORN INTO THIS WORLD.  “HE OPENED THE BOOK”.  “HE CLOSED THE BOOK”.   Dear reader, if you have never considered that there is a creator God and that He loves YOU, these two simple actions by Christ demonstrate this.  By his act of opening the book and reading the portion He read and closing the book and not reading the remaining portion of verse 2 he has demonstrated God’s loving-kindness, God’s longsuffering and God’s grace and mercy to rebel sinners.  This will become evident as we consider this portion of scripture.  Five particular people problems or afflictions are mentioned here in (Luke 4).  From this passage of scripture we learn there is someone who has the answer.  There is someone who has the solution for your every need.  Jesus Christ is Himself, the answer, the solution, to your every affliction if only you will come to Him. 

 

By way of outline and in five separate messages we will consider the following from this portion of the Word of God (Luke 4:16-22):

 

1.        The Substance of the Savior’s Message (verse’s 16-18)

·        A Savior for the POOR.(verse 18a)

·        A Savior for the BROKEN HEARTED.(verse 18b)

·        A Savior for the CAPTIVES.(verse 18c)

·        A Savior for the BLIND.(verse 18d)

·        A Savior for the BURDENED.(verse 18e)

2.     The Opportunity from the Savior’s Message (verse 19)

3.     The Warning from the Savior’s Message (verse 20)

4.     The Reaction to the Savior’s Message (verse’s 22, 28)

 

IN THIS MESSAGE WE WANT TO FOCUS ON “A SAVIOR FOR THE POOR”, FOR THOSE WHO ARE IMPOVERISHED”, “A SAVIOR FOR THOSE AFFLICTED BY POVERTY”.

 

The Substance of the Savior’s Message is found in, (Luke 4:18) when He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR”.  This world, as we know, is filled with poor people.  Poverty is found everywhere, in every country.  In some countries the degree of poverty and the standard of living of people are much worse than in other countries.  This is poverty of wealth, poverty of material goods, and so on.  But, this is not the kind of poverty of which the Lord was speaking.  He was NOT speaking about financial poverty or poverty of the necessities of life.  He was instead speaking about “spiritual poverty”.  YOU may not be poor financially but you can be “poor in the sight of God”.  You may be living on “Easy Street” and have a large house and two cars in the garage while at the same time you are really on the “Broadway” that leads to eternal destruction (Matthew 7:13).  You may have many material possessions and a large bank account but do you have any spiritual riches?  If YOU are not saved you lack the necessities of life, eternal life from God.  It says in the Bible, the Word of God, (Mark 8:36, 37) “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”  PRESENT TEMPORAL GAIN IS OF NO ETERNAL VALUE.  There are many who are pursuing wealth and riches and seeking to accumulate more and more of this worlds goods.  They are in a sense, seeking to “gain the whole world” while at the same time neglecting the eternal well being of their own soul.  Dear reader, does this sound like you?  The Lord Jesus said in, (Luke 12:15) “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.  Dear reader, you may not feel poor but you are “impoverished” before a holy God because God says in His Word that you are a sinner facing the judgment of God.  Sin is in mans nature and the evidence of a sinful nature is sins in the life.  God says in His Word, “Both Jews and Gentiles, they are ALL under sin”.  “There is NONE righteous, no, not one”.  “ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”.  “ALL the world (are) guilty before God”.  (Romans 3:9, 10, 23, 19) Notice that God says “ALL” have sinned.  This includes YOU.  There are no exceptions or no exclusions.  Furthermore, sin has consequences because God says in His Word, (Romans 6:23) “The wages of sin is death”.  He also says in His Word, (James 1:15) “Sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death”.  Following physical death is the judgment of God because we read in, (Hebrews 9:27) “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”.  Sooner or later YOU will stand before God as Judge.  Think of what it will mean to die in your sins and to stand, in all your sins, before the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11).  It is the place where every unbeliever will be judged according to their works and then be confined for all eternity in the dreadful flames of hell in that place called the “lake of fire”.  Dear reader, we urge you to “flee from the wrath to come”.  This leads us to our second point we want to consider:

 

 The Opportunity from the Savior’s Message (verse 19)

We read that the Lord Jesus said He came, (Luke 4:19) “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord”.   By reading these words the Savior would have us understand that He was announcing, now is the time when God will be gracious to sinners.  Now is the time when a welcome for sinners is offered.  Now is the time when every person can find acceptance with God.  It has been two thousand years since the cross of Calvary and this period is called the dispensation of God’s grace.  This is the time when God has and will yet receive sinners who come in God’s way for salvation.  Will YOU take advantage of this opportunity while you can and call upon the Lord for salvation?  It says in, (Romans 10:13) “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved”.  YOU have an opportunity to be saved because as it says in, (john 3:16) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.  God can offer salvation to you in these days of grace because the Son of God left His eternal home in Heaven and came into this “valley of the shadow of death” in order to provide salvation for poor, helpless, hopeless sinners.  We read of the purpose of His coming in, (1 Timothy 1:15) “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”.  The Word of God tells us, (Galatians 4:4) “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law”.  Scripture tells us “unto us a child was born unto us a Son was given”.  The Son of God was incarnated.  Deity took on humanity.  The Son of God became the Son of man.  It says in, (1 Timothy 3:16) “Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh”.  We are told in, (Philippians 2:5-7) Though He eternally existed “in the form of God, He thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But, made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”.  The Savior’s death on the cross was voluntary because He said, (John 10:17, 18) “I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment have I received of my Father”.  The Lord Jesus was under no compulsion to die.  He laid down His life as a voluntary sacrifice.  The Savior’s death on the cross was not only voluntary it was vicarious.  We read that He came to “give His life a ransom for many”. When He died on the cross He stood in man’s place.  “Ransom” speaks of the life of Christ given up in death.  The giving up of His life was the ransom price paid for the deliverance of all who will accept it by faith.  He died for sins but not His own for He was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners.  Can YOU say like the hymn writer?

 

He took my sins and my sorrows

He made them His very own

He bore the burden to Calvary

And suffered and died alone

 

The Lord Jesus not only laid down His life, He took it back again.  This is the Gospel message, God’s good news.  (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the scriptures”.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ is proof that all the righteous demands of a holy God have been perfectly met and satisfied through the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross.  Dear reader let me ask you, do YOU believe in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ?   God says if you do you can be saved.  We read in, (Romans 10:9, 10) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus (Jesus as Lord) and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved’.  “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”.  For those who reject God’s offer of mercy and free gift of salvation there is a warning.  This leads us to;

 

The Warning from the Savior’s Message (verse 20)

It says in, (Luke 4:20) “HE CLOSED THE BOOK”.  Thank God He closed the book and did not read the words, “and the day of vengeance of our God”.  How gracious, merciful and longsuffering God is.  God’s day of vengeance and wrath is postponed until He opens the book in heaven which is recorded in Revelation, chapters 5 and 6.  Now is not the day of God’s vengeance but as we read in, (1 Corinthians 6:2) “Now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation”.  The day of salvation is fast coming to and end therefore there is an urgency about getting saved and getting right with God.  The day of God’s vengeance is fast approaching and will soon break out upon this world.  God says in His Word, (Romans 12:19) “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”  We read in, (Acts 17:30, 31) “God ..now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead”.  God commands repentance on your part.  Have YOU repented of your sins?  Repentance is essential to forgiveness so you must accept God’s demand for it.  “Repentance” is a change of mind about sinful deeds that brings them to an immediate end.  God teaches in His Word that in order for a person to be saved there must be “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:20, 21).  The day of God’s wrath and vengeance has already been appointed and it will occur when Christ returns.  We read in, (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8) “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”.   Have YOU obeyed the gospel?  Do YOU believe the gospel message?

 

The Reaction to the Savior’s Message (verse’s 22, 28)

There were two reactions to the Saviors message that day.  It says in, (Luke 4:22) “And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth”.  The other reaction is recorded in, (verse 28) “All they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath”.  What is YOUR reaction to reading or hearing the gospel message?  Are YOU filled with “wonder” or with “wrath”?  YOUR reaction to the gospel message will determine YOUR eternal destiny.  Will YOU believe God’s Word?  It says in, (John 3:36) “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him”.  If you believe on the Son of God and receive Him as your own personal you will be able to draw freely on the, “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8).  To become a child of God will give you, “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven” (1 Peter 1:4).

 

In closing let me remind you that you are traveling the “HIGHWAY OF LIFE”, passing through time on the way to eternity.  There are only two destinations before you.  You will spend eternity in one of these two destinations.  It will be either heaven or hell.  Now that you have read this message you have come to a “crossroads” in your earthly journey.  A decision has to be made.  Which way will you go?  Will you continue to willfully neglect and reject God’s free gift of salvation or will you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him as your Lord and Savior?  The SOURCE of all true riches is a Person: Jesus, the Son of God.  To possess Him is to possess everything that can bring true satisfaction in this life and in the endless eternity to which all of us are traveling.  The Bible says in, (1 John 5:12) “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life”.  If YOU do not get saved it will not be because God does not love you or God’s Son did not die for you but it will be because you have refused God’s offer of salvation. It is not God’s desire that you perish in your sins.  God says in, (Ezekiel 18:23) “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?  Saith the Lord God; and not that he should return from his ways and live?”  It says in the Word of God, (1 Timothy 2:3, 4) “God our savior, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”.  It says also in, (2 Peter 3:9) “The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. 

God is not willing that you perish in your sins.  The question is, are YOU willing to be saved?

 

Please give this matter your most serious attention.  Your eternal destiny depends on your decision.  Remember that “no decision” is really a decision and it is the wrong decision.  Hell is filled with procrastinators and God warns in His Word, (2 Corinthians 6:2) “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold. NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION”.           

 

Christian Messenger