Blessed are those who hear and obey God's Word

Opening Prayer Thoughts. 
 
Praise God
Praise God for his Word. Praise God that it is light and truth. That there are no lies in what it teaches; that it is unchanging, and perfect in every way. That it gives wisdom and revives the soul. That we are incredibility privileged to have it in our language.
 
Acknowledge Sin
Confess the sin of having God’s Word, but looking for God to speak to you in some special way.



Please read Luke 11:24-32 - Blessed are those who hear and obey God's Word
Seek the help of the Holy Spirit as you turn to read his Word. 
 
V24. A moral life means nothing.
Unlike Matthew, who places this passage later, Luke deals with it now to complete the account regarding demons. The point is simple; when a demon leaves a person, and that person is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit, no matter what moral tidying up of the life may result, the person remains vulnerable to being possessed again. The number is not significant; what it indicates is the dimension of increased wickedness. Only Christ can fill the soul of a person in such a way as to exclude perpetual, ever-increasing sinful behaviour.  
 
V27. A woman speaks.
As Jesus is saying this, a woman, impressed by the miracle and the stunning simplicity of his response to the Pharisees and Scribes, shouts out. She acknowledges who Jesus is and utters a wonderful statement of commendation on his mother. The thought is - 'she is blessed to have had a son like this, and is to be blessed herself for how she raised him'.   
 
You would think that Jesus would receive this compliment upon himself and his mother with a personalized response, i.e., stating his appreciation for her recognition of who he is, and the contribution his mother made in rearing him. But he doesn't. He doesn't question the truth of what the woman says; he just doesn't respond to it. Yes, the physical connection with Jesus is significant and not to be dismissed lightly, but the reality is that the relationship of the soul with Christ is far superior. 
 
Many today think that it would have been wonderful to have seen and heard Jesus in person. Surely nothing could surpass the experience of being in one of those crowds that followed him around. They may even think that they would be more committed as Christians if they had had such a privilege. Seeing Jesus in the flesh, listening to his teaching with such authority, witnessing some of his miracles. How could you not be moved to become really committed after that? That is a misguided, if not a false, premise to live under. We are far more blessed today than the people who saw and listened to Jesus, including the disciples, because we have the entirety of the Word of God that we can hear, read and study and then obey. How incredibly blessed we are today to have the voice of Jesus, in the Holy Spirit's power, come to us through his never-changing Word. Our task is not to dream about what we could have been like if we had seen and heard Jesus when he was on the earth. Our task is to listen to him now, as he speaks from heaven today through his Word, and then obey him.  
 
V29. Linking back to verse 16
Previously in this chapter, in verse 16, we saw that there were those, the Pharisees and Scribes from Jerusalem, who were demanding of Jesus that he show them a sign from heaven to authenticate himself. 'He should and must prove himself by way of some astonishing, beyond earth miracle.' Luke now tells us how Jesus responds to this demand.
 
V29. What is Evil?
In doing so, while speaking specifically to the Pharisees and Scribes, Jesus addresses not only those listening, but also beyond, to all of Judaism. There is no holding back as he does so. "This generation is an evil generation." Why? Because for all the hearing of God's Word, there had been little obeying of it. Yes, they had flocked to hear him preach with authority and see him do amazing miracles. They had even extolled a blessing on his mother; but what of their response? They wanted a sign, a great sign, an earth-shattering sign, one which would leave them utterly amazed and convinced. The fact though is that God had been giving them the truth, and innumerable signs, day after day, in and through the person of his Son. 
 
We tend to think of evil as being something openly and terrible bad. Something marked by clear and evident heinousness. That which is terribly bad and causes the stomach to turn in disgust at the thought of it. But 'evil' for Jesus is hearing the Word of God and not obeying. 'Evil' for Jesus is hearing the free offer of the gospel and rejecting it. 'Evil' for Jesus is hearing the sanctifying Word of Truth and not imbibing and owning it without reservation. 
 
The kind of sign being demanded would not be forthcoming, for it cannot be. God had decreed how he would manifest his Son and how his Son would manifest His love for His chosen people. That would not change because it could not change. It had been sealed in from eternity, and no matter how ardent and earnest, no pleading was going to change that. It is one 'asking, seeking, and knocking' that would not be answered.  
 
A sign will be given though – the sign of Jonah. What was the "sign of Jonah … to the people of Nineveh?" It was the sign of 'resurrection' bringing salvation. Now, just in case you are jumping to the thought that I am saying that Jonah was raised from the dead and therefore became the Saviour of the people in Nineveh, I am not. Jonah was rescued from death, and he was held in the belly of the sea creature for three days (Jonah 1:17). He then went, as he had originally been commanded to do, to Nineveh, where he preached the message he had been told to preach, namely God's judgement. That preaching, by God's grace, had been effectual unto the salvation of tens of thousands of people in that vast cosmopolitan city, and as a result, the city was spared. So, Jonah was 'resurrected' to do the work of God. Jesus is, of course, pointing to his own resurrection. That which will take place after he has, with all obedience, completed all the work that God has assigned to him on earth. A resurrection, a sign, which, despite its magnitude, is denied by our evil generation, including many in the visible church. 
 
V31. The judgement.
Jesus demands that they consider who is standing in front of them. He does so by way of the example of the Queen of Sheba. A heathen woman, who took, even with all the comforts that would have been afforded her, a long and seriously demanding journey. It was literally a journey from what, at the time, was the ends of the earth. Imagine what that must have been like for her. The organization that such a trip would have entailed. The expense incurred, the time taken, the danger and threats she and her entourage would have potentially been exposed to, and for what? To hear the God-given wisdom of one man. And yet, here they have, standing in their midst, one who is greater than Solomon. Not only greater in person, but greater in everything associated with him, including his Kingdom. Hence the phrase "something greater than Solomon". 
 
The judgement is coming, and on that day, the Queen of Sheba will rise up, and based on what she did, she will condemn the rejection of Christ by the generation standing around him at this moment. And she will be joined in this condemnation by the men of Nineveh who, by God's grace, repented at the preaching of his servant, Jonah.  
 
It is a sobering and challenging thought, given the privileges being extended to us daily. We should not take lightly our hearing and obeying of God's Word.



A Psalm to Sing.
Psalm 73C - Link to the words. Link to it being sung. Sing with joy in your heart to God.



Memory Verse.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word. 
Matthew 6:9-11
"Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread,"


Truth for the Mind and Heart
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 82 - Is any man able to keep the commandments of God perfectly?
Answer - No mere human person, since the fall, is able to keep the commandments of God perfectly in this life, but breaks them daily in thought, word, and deed.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
 

Thank God.
Thank God for the blessing of hearing the voice of the Lord Jesus in his Word. Thank God for the various ways that we can do so.
Pray and ask God to help you, those whom you love, and all in the congregation, to hear and obey.
Thank God for the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
 
Take care in Christ,
Andrew 
 
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC